The Republican Presidential campaign has been a dramatic example of Just in Time Journalism. Each time a new candidate has reached the top of the Media Hype Heap a simple fact-checking pin prick does in the new Pseudo Presidential front-runner. And there have been 7 pretenders – Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Rick Perry, Hermann Cane, Newt Gingerich, Ron Paul, and the latest Rick Santorum – all Whack -a-moled in one month or less of Hype Heap Riding. And you guessed it, after nearly winning the Iowa Presidential Primary, Rick Santorum is the latest to be subject to This-Time-The-Real-Media Cross Examination [aka the Hype Heat]. And right on time, Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast delivers a Double Heap of Heat:
The media assault on Rick Santorum has begun. Turns out he was a tough-guy lawmaker who played hardball with lobbyists and made a bundle after leaving the Senate.In other words, a typical member of Congress.
This is all fair game, mind you. In fact, it’s the kind of information the voters of Iowa might have found useful before propelling Santorum into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in the caucuses (or a victory, if reports of aRomney overcount are to be believed). But the press didn’t care then. Santorum was an also-ran, a loser, a single-digit guy. Until he wasn’t….
The Post is joined by the New York Times in reporting that Santorum made $1.3 million in 2010 and the first half of 2011 by selling his services to various industry groups, and in a similar vein as Newt Gingrich, Santorum was not registered as a lobbyist. For instance, after pushing two bills in the Senate to steer hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicare money to Puerto Rican hospitals, the ex-senator joined the board of United Health Services, where he hauled in $395,000 in fees and stock options. And how did investigative reporters unearth this information? It was in Santorum’s financial disclosure form.
This is exactly the kind of scrutiny that a presidential candidate should be receiving. Too bad the media didn’t take Santorum seriously enough to provide it until now.
But really Kurtz is right on with the second remark. Why did the media and Press choose to ignore the qualifications of Rick Santorum?
Ye editor has scoured the Web for a media outlet [newspaper, magazine, political websites, even wikipedia] that provides a list of the candidates with a summary of the qualifications, political history, strengths, weaknesses, upside potential and/or downside risks[aka “skeletons in the closet”]. Just a capsule summary is sufficient in briefing style maye double Twitter’s 140 character limit for each category the Press chooses to pursue. It would be nice to have a pros and cons approach lest it be mistaken for a political ad instead of journalistic coverage.
Ooopps – Journalistc Coverage Is Opinion and Infotainment
Media Shift is the informative coverage by PBS of the decline of traditional paper and even broadcast media in favor of the Web as the news medium of choice. Seeping through the convenience and financial advantage stories is the the picture of the press in gut-wrenching transition as wholescale cutbacks in journalist employment and coverage are occuring in newspapers, magazines and local radio and television. But two aspects of the change investigated by PBS have gotten shortchanged. First, it goes back to Marshall McLuhan hot and cold media. Traditional press like newspapers and magazines are relatively cool – once a day to once a week [or month]news cycles . Traditional black and white layout, people read the news to become informed, there is a strong fact checking aspect to cool media. Hot media like radio and now TV and Web are fast breaking, full of emotional sound, fury and action video, shorter on facts-longer on opinion. Second, as hot media like radio, TV and now the Web with social media prevail with their built-in hot, emotional aspects – opinion, especially outrageous, humorous, and entertaining opinion prevail. News and fact checking take second seat to the hot media’s priority: infotainment. And so the Fourth Estate has such aberrations as Fox News Networks where opinions become News and Ooops-we-made-mistake-in-fact, but now that the show is over with we shall issue a required correction. Or more common – short of the facts, Just in Time Journalism.