Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Certain elements of the media have always irritated me. I say that as a media person, although I no longer work full time in broadcasting. I spent years in it, so I do have some knowledge of the subject.
Note this little AP story on Gov. Sarah Palin's acceptance speech this evening. As this was posted, Gov. Palin is still at least three hours away from even delivering the speech. In essence, the AP has stolen the thunder from her. But they're not alone. It seems most of the major media already tell you what's going to be said before it's said. They've managed to cow people into giving them advance copies of the text.
Long ago, whenever we would receive news releases, if they were in advance of an event, they would often be "embargoed." That means you don't publish them or air them until a certain time. The newspapers would squall sometimes, saying that it wasn't fair to them as radio stations could air immediately, but they had to wait until press time to put it out. I can understand that to some extent, but that's just the way it works. Television and radio are immediate. The advantage newspapers have is that they can go more in depth than you usually get in a network newscast. And by the by, that is one more incentive for another journalistic practice called "scooping." In other words, getting a story that no one else has.
All that aside, it's getting pretty ridiculous when a major wire service or network releases the most significant parts of a speech before it's even delivered. That's like committing the unforgivable sin of giving an unwarned "spoiler" in a movie review.
If I were a newsmaker, I would either not give out advance copies of a speech to the media, or I would embargo it until the last possible minute. Or if I was in a really bad mood, I'd give out a bogus copy of the speech and then say something entirely different once I got up on the podium.
But then, I'm a grouchy sort.