Spoken like only a journo could think

June 24th, 2006
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Journalists are often accused of revelling in bad news, to the point where they’re virtually incapable of saying anything nice or even reporting on something that’s good.

However, it’s not so often that we see evidence that the journalistic mind, over time, literally inverts the good and bad.

Here’s one such gem from Wednesday’s National Post, a story about the apparent firing of disgraced CBS news anchor Dan Rather:

“His career spanned highlights of recent U.S. history, from president John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination to the Watergate scandal that brought down president Richard Nixon in 1974.”

Highlights. Well. Obviously, these were history-making events. But highlights? Perhaps in the sense that the news media had lots to talk about. But that would make Hitler’s invasion of Poland a “highlight” of German-Polish relations. I suspect most ordinary people would choose other adjectives: traumatic event, scandal, disgrace, horrible, wrenching, etc. There’s no shortage.

Is there a larger point? Possibly. If we imagine this mindset at work multiplied thousands of times and placed in all corners of the world, it might cause us to wonder through what filters we’re being provided with news and analysis from the world’s trouble spots.

A mind that sees a presidential assassination as a “highlight” would seem to have an almost pornographic attraction to violence and mayhem. Think about that next time you watch a report about Iraq, say.

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