- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Press ‘passion’

“Finally we’ve discovered the missing ingredient in American journalism, the vitamin deficiency that’s been shrinking newspaper circulation and TV newscast audiences all these years. What Americans clamor for is not information but passion. The heroes of the coverage of Katrina were not the reporters who got the most accurate stories but the ones who shouted the loudest or cried the hardest.

“CNN’s Anderson Cooper acquired the most accolades. ‘For the last four days I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets. … I’ve got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated,’ he snarled at Sen. Mary L. Landrieu [Louisiana Democrat] as she tried to explain what she was doing to get help for the hurricane’s victims. The on-air tantrum earned him the title ‘conscience of a nation’ from Vanity Fair.

“Such reporting may have been satisfyingly emotional, but much of it was also overwhelmingly, dumbfoundingly wrong. … A little less emoting and a few more hard questions would have served us all better.”

— Glenn Garvin, writing on “Fidel’s Favorite Propagandist,” in the March issue of Reason

Episcopal ‘war’

“What if in 2003, Canon Gene Robinson, hearing and reading of all the controversy his nomination for Bishop of New Hampshire had caused and his election would cause, announced that while he felt that he was fit for the position and saw nothing wrong with the idea of his election to it, he wanted his name to be withdrawn from consideration for the sake of the peace of the Anglican world? What would have happened?

“He would still be a canon; no homosexual priest, practicing or otherwise, would have lost his or her position; and unofficial same-sex ‘marriages’ would still be performed here and there. The Anglican world could have spent the last three years dealing with ‘the world’s homeless, hungry and poor, in this and every land’ and working toward the ‘feeding, housing and clothing the poor, and binding up the physical and spiritual wounds of the world’s neediest.’

“But Robinson … had to have his pointy hat and he had to have it right now. So his church completely ignored the clear warnings … about what was coming, went ahead and gave it to him, and the war broke out exactly as the primates told the Presiding Bishop that it would.”

— Christopher Johnson, writing on “Pot? Kettle on Line One,” Feb. 28 in the Midwest Conservative Journal at https://mcj.bloghorn.com

Bald truth

“Until she shaved her head, I had not spent a moment thinking about Britney Spears. … She just seemed to be a piece of the celebrity trash that’s always sloshing around. But the photographs of her shaved head stopped me short. …

“Spears’ crack-up was the most interesting performance of her life. She seemed to be trying, with befuddled brilliance, to tell the truth. She recoiled from celebrity culture by mortifying her own flesh. She stripped herself, publicly, of her sexuality. …

“The latest news is that Spears is dropping in and out of rehab. Will she OD or commit suicide like Monroe? Will she have a Grand Guignol death like the fat-obsessed Anna Nicole Smith? No one publicly asks those questions, but that’s what everyone wonders. … Asked by a photographer why she shaved her head, she answered, ‘Because of you.’ At the hair salon, she said she was ‘tired of everybody touching me.’ Out of the mouths of babes.”

— Mark Stevens, writing on “Britney Spears, Outsider Artist,” in the March 5 issue of New York

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