The latest Dan Rather case summation from Jim Romenesko’s Media News site appears to be a little skewed. The Web site is the place journalists go to keep up with the news media business. Here’s how Romenesko sums up Friday’s events:
> “Journalism has become corporatized, trivialized and castrated” That’s what Mary Mapes writes in her defense of former colleague Dan Rather, who at 75 “still has more reportorial testosterone than the entire employee roster at Fox News. It is a tremendous injustice to journalism that he has to go to court to be treated with respect.”
> Sklar on Rather’s “all-or-nothing bid to get his reputation back” (HP)
> He’s serving notice he intends to be the real Dan Rather again (Rosen)
All of these snip-its would lead readers to believe that Rather’s on a noble mission, and that Sklar and Rosen are in full support.
But, they aren’t.
Sklar, a media critic for the left-leaning Huffington Post, says:
Is it rational? Opinion seems to be…no. Not so much, to revive the single worst mistake you ever made and try to explain it by saying that it wasn’t really yours. Whoever counseled him on that strategy was an idiot…
And Rosen, who teaches journalism at NYU, is equally dismissive:
I’m with those who think he is crazy. When your document examiners won’t back you up, and your story is about the documents, you have no story. Mary Mapes in the Huffington Post, Rather’s collaborator back then, writes as if none of this had ever happened. Her post is delusional, scary.
I’m sure Romensko wasn’t trying to distort the news, but he certainly could’ve picked a better way to paraphrase those authors’ opinions. After all, we all know that many readers don’t read further than the headline.
UPDATE: Romenesko’s selection of headline’s today seems to paint a more-balanced picture.