Posts tagged ‘media’


This article originally appeared at The Nation on May 5, 2010.

LAURA Bush’s memoir, Spoken From the Heart, was released on May 4, days after The New York Times spilled the beans on its embargoed content after a reporter bought a copy put out too early at a bookstore.  Plenty of national coverage and reviews quickly followed.  One incident in the memoir has received extended coverage:  When Laura was 17-years-old she was the driver in a car accident that killed a high school friend, Mike Douglas, after she ran a stop sign (while chatting with a companion).

It was old news, but she hadn’t spoken or written about it much before.  While many of these articles read like breaking news,  as if something was left undiscovered, most papers in Texas either ran wire articles about Bush’s memoir or ignored it.

While the Jezebel site called the memoir “shocking” and Ann Gerhart of the Washington Post found the contents about the crash “startling,” Texans, on the other hand, don’t seem to agree.

“Texans pretty much know every jot and tittle of the Laura and W legend already,” says Texas Observer Editor Bob Moser. “The car accident is old news. And nothing in the memoir, from what I’ve heard of it, sounds remotely surprising.” The Observer does plan to review the book in an upcoming issue and will also have a New York-based columnist carry it around the city to see if any “Yankees react.

Mike Drago, city and regional editor of The Dallas Morning News, echoes Moser’s sentiment. Drago wasn’t sure if all Texans knew about the crash, but “readers of the Dallas Morning News did.” The paper covered the crash extensively during the Bush campaign for president, but neither Bush would speak about it at the time. The paper plans on reviewing the book and interviewing the former First Lady after the book hits stores.

As for the accident, Laura Bush—surprisingly—was never charged for it, though fully at fault, nor received a ticket. The police report was partially illegible and lacked many details, including whether charges were filed. Texas attorney Keith Stretcher told USA Today in 2000 that he didn’t think it was unusual that charges were not filed in that era, but the mystery remains.

Gerhart of The Washington Post speculates in her book, The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush that “perhaps Mike Douglas’s parents, who lived out in the country and weren’t part of the more affluent set in town, didn’t have the right connections to press for a more vigorous investigation.”


May 5, 2010 at 1:12 am Leave a comment


This past Tuesday England’s Prime Minister Tony Blair gave one of his last speeches before he leaves office at the end of June. He said a few things in particular that I feel hit the issue right on the head, and I would argue that the media in the US is much worse than England and Europe. Here’s the excerpt:

Blair discusses the negatives of recent changes in the media industry, including 24 hour news, the rise of internet news and its affect on traditional news.

Here’s the excerpt (from the International Herald Tribune):

“The [media] are not the masters of this change but its victims… The result is a media that increasingly and to a dangerous degree is driven by ‘impact.’ Impact is what matters. It is all that can distinguish, can rise above the clamor, can get noticed. Impact gives competitive edge. Of course, the accuracy of a story counts. But it is secondary to impact.”

This is the reason why I refuse to watch TV news in the US. Even CNN has become all about ratings, and if news is on 24 hours a day the channel resorts to sensationalism in order to attract enough viewers. The whole Paris Hilton in jail saga has really exposed this issue. (Even Conan O’Brien discussed this with his guest last night, Tim Russet from Meet the Press.) CNN spent more time on Paris Hilton than any other news story. Any story about Paris will probably bring in more viewers, but shouldn’t there be one news channel that is committed to reporting real news?

Jun 13, 2007 at 7:10 pm Leave a comment


Rolling Stone recently announced that its magazine will now be printed on paper that has less of a negative impact on the environment. The magazine will be printing on paper supplied by Catalyst Paper, ( a Canadian paper mill, that plants the same amount of trees that it cuts down. The newly planted trees will not be cut down in the future. Though this certainly is a step in the right direction, the move is drawing criticism for not being green enough because the mill does not use recycled paper. Using recycled paper is certainly the most green step any magazine can take, yet no national magazine has committed to this. Magazine editors are concerned that the quality of recycled paper is not good enough, particularly for photos, but others argue that the technology of recycled paper has increased and has made the quality as good as non-recycled paper. As of now, the decision to switch to recycled paper is based on balancing green issues and the quality of the magazine.

Jun 11, 2007 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment


Check out the latest issue of Men’s Fitness featuring Andy Roddick on the cover with some new arms. Men’s Fitness decided to Photoshop Andy’s arms to make them appear bigger and noticeably not his own. Andy Roddick admitted that he laughed at the photos, which are what most bloggers are doing as well. Most reactions from the public are disappointingly apathetic. It seems no one cares about doctored photos. While making someone’s arms look a little bigger to sell some magazines may not be such a big deal to an average citizen, but if doctoring photos becomes common practice throughout the media, as it has already become with celebrity magazines, it will slowly errode away the credibility of all journalism. When the media is no longer credible or transparent, can the public believe anything they are told by journalists?

Jun 11, 2007 at 8:30 pm Leave a comment

Twitter Updates