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Thursday, June 26, 2008

OMG tigr!

by digby

Media Bloodhound caught a perfect example of the Entertainment Industrial Complex doing its best to ensure that Americans stay as uninformed as possible:

On June 17, Lara Logan, CBS News' Chief Foreign Correspondent, had this exchange with Jon Stewart:

STEWART: Do you watch the news that we’re watching?


STEWART: …in the United States? Do you see what we’re hearing about the war? So, we might actually know everything?

LOGAN: If I were to watch the news that you hear in the United States—I’d just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts.

The following night, CBS Evening News spent the first four-and-a-half minutes of its broadcast on star golfer Tiger Woods' injury. (View full clip here.)

This is how anchor Russ Mitchell (filling in for Katie Couric) began this opening story, which accounted for, excluding commercials, nearly one quarter of the night's newscast:

RUSS MITCHELL: Just two days after one of his greatest victories, the season is over for perhaps the biggest name in sports. Tiger Woods, the world's number one golfer, said today he needs reconstructive knee surgery to a pair of torn ligaments. It is a major blow for Woods and for the sport itself.

I contacted CBS and asked them how they not only justified making this their lead story but saw fit to devote nearly a quarter of their broadcast to it.

I received the following statement from Rick Kaplan, Executive Producer of CBS Evening News, who, I was also informed, had a direct hand in making this decision:

“The Tiger Woods injury story was of major importance and we felt we needed to devote time to it as the lead. Tiger is arguably one of the world’s premiere athletes and his career is in some jeopardy with Tiger halting playing the sport for the year. It was certainly the most talked about story of the day, and the biggest story in most national newspapers. Our story contained implications for sports, millions of fans, and many aspects of business; which have by and large been revolutionized by the Tiger Woods phenomenon.”

Click over to Media Bloodhound to see a small sampling of the headlines that existed on that day from the US and around the world. You'll see what excellent editorial judgment that was.

It's not that sports news isn't important. But four minutes out of about 22? About an athlete's knee injuryt? Really? It's not like he died or even that he found out that he had to retire because of his injury. He's out for the rest of the 2008 tour and will make a full recovery. The humanity.

I know this was undoubtedly the story of the day during lunch at the Palm among all the men who watched that memorable US Open --- guys like Kaplan who run networks and who have been "revolutionized" by the Tiger Woods Phenomenon, (which I suspect translates into buying all of his products and following his career like a bunch of teen age groupies.) But I'm not really sure that the obsessions of a bunch of rich guys for another incredibly rich guy qualifies as news. It's celebrity gossip for boys.