Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Under 30's Abandon 'Arthritic' Media says Pulitzer Prize Reporter

In an interview by Amy Goodman, with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Laurie Garrett, who resigned from Newsday and then wrote a memo ripping the paper's parent company, the Tribune Company, for putting profit over quality journalism, Garrett told Goodman:
"I'm not coming from some ideological space on this, and I’m definitely not anti-corporate, nor am I anti-profit... but when you see news as a product that has to compete with toilet paper [which] turns a 35% annual profit return..., then I think it's impossible to really serve democracy."

"All across the news industry there's a recognition that people under 30 are not watching. They're not reading. They don't subscribe to newspapers. They're not watching the evening news, and in many cases, it's hard to pin down exactly how people under 30 in America are getting information. It's a kind of information cocoon in which you’re osmotically absorbing from thousands and thousands of places from the internet, from your friends, from text messaging, from God knows where. And it means that those of us who come from more established old patterns of media dissemination of information are nervous."

"If you look at the evening news, one of the things that's happening to network television news is look at the ads. It's, you know, hemorrhoid cream. It's Viagra. It's arthritis medication. It reflects their demographic, which is that most of the people watching an evening network newscast are well over 60 years of age."
Garrett also slammed the mainstream "journalism" of the last few years:
"In the pell-mell rush to scoop, scoop, scoop, and to look hot, hot, hot, a lot of reporters did not show that caution. We saw stories that in The New York Times, in The Washington Post, in a number of news outlets claiming evidence of weapons of mass destruction that clearly was bogus.

"One of the most egregious was the claim that a Russian scientist who had been a smallpox expert was in Baghdad, and had advised the Iraqi government on smallpox production when, in fact, the time that woman had been in Baghdad... as a public health officer to eliminate smallpox... But these were all things that were just fed."

"I mean, look at how the media convicted Richard Jewell of the Atlanta Olympic bombing, when it turned out, of course, that he was completely innocent. Look at how quickly the media moved to try and convict Steven Hatfill of being responsible for the anthrax mailings, when, in fact, he is free today..."

"And then, of course, the Wen Ho Lee case in Los Alamos Laboratory... Nobody ever explained why a Taiwanese would be helping mainland China. That alone should have caused some serious skepticism. But, of course, ultimately the judge in that case not only threw out all the charges against Wen Ho Lee, but particularly castigated The New York Times for their coverage and for having basically convicted him on the pages of their newspaper."


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