Search This Blog


Non-story tantrum indicative of media insecurties

“There are no slow news days, just slow news reporters,” my old collegiate adviser in my journalism days counseled. To that aphorism one can add, “Never argue with somebody who buys ink by the barrel,” and these explain the strange non-story that recently appeared in the Baton Rouge Advocate.

It expounded upon the situation that Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu was nonplussed because Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was defending her vigorously enough against criticism that she had sold a vote that could have stopped consideration of a disastrous health care reform measure in the Senate for the chance to have as part of that bill a passage that would shovel anywhere from $100 to $300 million to fund Louisiana’s Medicaid program in 2011. Meanwhile, the sun rose in the east and the grass is still green.

That part of this criticism came from conservative media commentators including calling her a “prostitute” for her willingness to trade a vote for political favors seemed to upset some but not really Landrieu, who said she was over not receiving more explicit support on the matter from Jindal. For his part, he said he would not criticize any delegation member and left it at that. He also said that while he disagreed with the bill, he would be thankful for whatever any delegation member could do to help with Medicaid funding, echoing a previous statement where he said criticism of her on this was unfair.

So why is this news? Because the Advocate wants there to be more to it, out of pique at Jindal. This is obvious from the snide passage that Jindal “last held a news conference Nov. 4 in Baton Rouge and has not returned more than a dozen calls from reporters the past two weeks.” Translation: Jindal’s staff has been ignoring the Advocate’s reporters on this matter. Understand that more than anything else the media wish to be thought of as relevant and important, so to brush them aside like that is the greatest denigration that can be perceived by the media.

So, the little fit being thrown by the Advocate as a result that it can’t get Jindal to say anything else that would actually justify the story and make Jindal look bad and/or a cad is this story, which masquerades to some degree as a straight news story but instead directly editorializes, “Jindal initially publicly defended Landrieu, D-La., but that changed after conservative heavyweights began bashing her for money she got for Louisiana before voting on the controversial health-care bill.” Translation: Jindal’s a bad guy because after rude guys he likes got involved, he wouldn’t protect poor little Mary.

To say this conclusion is inventive is realistic. To say that it has any relation to the truth is fantasy. Jindal repeated what he had said before, so how does he suddenly become “changed” in actions? Since they couldn’t get Jindal to act the way they wanted, it became an exercise in manufacturing a story to make it seem he acted that way.

Let this be a lesson to all observers of the media: scorn them and they go off the rails playing out revenge scenarios. Which leads to the ironic conclusion that this will cause the irrelevance they desperately seek to avoid, not because policy-makers won’t give them what they crave, but because consumers – as is happening throughout the newspaper industry – will stop paying attention to them precisely because of a surplus of playing out their insecurities in public such as this self-indulgent piffle.

No comments: