Wednesday, November 12, 2003

MR. POSSIBLE FUTURE COMMANDER IN CHIEF: ARE YOU A POWER MAC GUY OR A DELL DUDE? CNN WANTS US TO KNOW
Interesting story from The Washington Post. At a debate hosting the Democratic presidential candidates, a CNN producer reportedly pressured a young audience member into asking a vapid question, instead than the serious one she'd prepared.

The paper wrote, "Alexandra Trustman said [Monday] that a CNN producer called her on the morning of the Boston forum and suggested she ask about the Democratic presidential candidates' computer preferences. Puzzled by the request, she writes in Brown University's Daily Herald, she drafted a more complicated question about how the candidates would use technology."

CNN rejected her serious question and told her to ask the candidates if they preferred Macs or PCs. The 2004 equivalent of 'boxers or briefs?' "Mr. Possible Future Commander in Chief, are you a Power Mac Guy or a Dell Dude? Inquiring minds want to know." [yes, the reference to a certain kind of tabloid was intentional]

Since it was Rock the Vote event with an audience comprised mostly of young people, Trustman was informed that CNN, "thought it would be a good opportunity for the candidates to relate to a younger audience."

Every November, the establishment media ritualistically bemoans the perceived political apathy on the part of young people. But then when young people do try to get involved, they are treated with this sort of breathtaking condescension.

Miffed by the criticism of her softball question, Trustman deplored the media's laziness. Not one person bothered to inquire or find out the truth about the incident, she wrote.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Huge storms are made about the most overt cases of journalistic malfeasance like the Jayson Blair/New York Times scandal. But the media would be better off if it realized the cumulative damage these smaller cases of laziness, sloppiness and pandering do to journalism's credibility.

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