- The Washington Times - Friday, May 5, 2000

TV's sexy teens

"For decades on television shows about teen-agers, sex was unmentioned, divorced parents were out of the question and families lived in an all-white suburban world that seemed frozen in time. The biggest issues facing television teen-agers of the '50s, '60s and '70s seemed to be borrowing the family car or finding a date for the prom.

"Then came the Fox shows 'Beverly Hills 90210,' which is reaching its television finale on May 17 after 10 years, and 'Party of Five,' whose last episode [aired Wednesday].

"Though the characters on these two series could not be more dissimilar, 'Beverly Hills 90210' and 'Party of Five' have transformed the way teen-agers are depicted on television, presenting them as far more complicated, thoughtful and sexy than the innocent, perky and sometimes goofy young people on earlier series like 'The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,' 'The Patty Duke Show,' 'My Three Sons' and 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.' "

Bernard Weinraub, writing on "Even on TV, Puberty Can't Last Forever," in Wednesday's New York Times

Media dirt

"The world headquarters of MediaNews.org the hot nerve center of the media world, the Web site that industry types scan obsessively to see what media writers and gossip columnists everywhere know that they don't know is a 500-square-foot one-room condo … where the sole employee of MediaNews, founder Jim Romenesko who made it onto Forbes's 'Power 100' list of masters of the media universe, along with Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey and the Backstreet Boys sleeps at night …

"Office hours begin at 6 a.m… . because there are several thousand media junkies who fully expect Romenesko to have combed the entire Internet literally hundreds of sources for the more irresistible items or stories of the day. Rick Bragg of the New York Times indiscreetly tells a reporter for the Metro Pulse in Knoxville that the Elian Gonzalez saga is 'the dumbest thing I've ever covered' and that he 'definitely made a mistake' in taking the Miami bureau chief job? An NBC cameraman accuses a New York Post reporter of stabbing him with her pen? …

"Romenesko's site has become the place for journalists to see and be seen sort of like a virtual Michael's or Elaine's.

Simon Dumenco, writing on "Satellite Dish," in the May 8 issue of New York

'Extreme' bias

"Through the miracle of space-age technology that is Lexis-Nexis, we will conduct a search of key highly charged political labels and see how frequently such loaded political jargon appear in various print media …

"A Nexis search of the phrase 'partisan Republican' shows that the term has turned up 85 times in the English-language news media over the past 90 days. By contrast, the term 'partisan Democrat' has turned up only 58 times ….

"A Nexis search of 'extreme right' over the past month scored 212 mentions; a Nexis search of 'extreme left' over the past month yielded 58 items.

"This search reveals that the print media label right-wingers 'extreme' nearly four times more often than they label left-wingers 'extreme.' Now, some of you might caterwaul that there are more extreme right-wingers out there than there are extreme left-wingers. But it seems to us that for every 'extreme' Bob Barr or Helen Chenoweth, there is an equally 'extreme' Maxine Waters and Bernie Sanders … When conservatives kvetch about the media being more apt to use negative labels for their leaders, special interest groups and public policy positions than they are for liberal leaders … they are not just spouting empty rhetoric."

Eron Shosteck, writing on "Media Bias by the Numbers," April 28 on www.nationaljournal.com

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