With all the seemingly intractable problems we face, you would think that surviving media would focus on the information we really need. Yet today in The Washington Post we have a story about how President Obama’s is “to make a Supreme Court decision soon,” as if he were thinking of postponing it until after the November elections. The article breaks no new significant ground. Then we have a story about Attorney General Eric Holder’s “rare moment to celebrate,” the capture of the Times Square would be bomber. The story could have been written by one of The Post’s sports writers, as it focused on Holder’s “good week.” But The Post never seems to miss an opportunity to allow its reporters to make broad sweeping statements, such as Anne Kornblut’s characterization of Holder being “on rocky ground,” as if he’s let big innings inflate his ERA this week.
One would hope The Post learns that too many of its stories are nothing more than a series of events trying to find a trend the paper can report on.
But we have a stark reminder today that postulating where there is no news can bite them on the ass.
Dateline—May 3 by The Post’s Cecilia Kang:
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has indicated he wants to keep broadband services deregulated, according to sources, even as a federal court decision has exposed weaknesses in the agency’s ability to be a strong watchdog over the companies that provide access to the Web.
Dateline—May 6, again by Kang
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission plans to seek clear-cut powers to regulate Internet service providers, redefining the government’s role over at least parts of the fast-growing industry.
Kang cited three sources for her May 3 story, all of whom are probably now in her dog house. The story didn’t provide anything more than well-known talking points from each side of the regulation debate and ultimately, of course, proved false. Why waste time on speculating what might happen before it does? OK, that was a softball question on today’s exam: because The Post wanted to be the first with the news.
But don’t expect the paper to take the blame. In today’s story,
Sources said Genachowski appeared to have shifted from late last week, when The Washington Post reported that it looked like he was inclined to keep broadband services deregulated.
The same sources, no doubt, who had no clue what was happening three days earlier. It wasn’t The Post that got it wrong; it was the FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski who changed his mind.
Watch soon for a flip-flopping story.