Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Major papers ignored DSM because radio receivers in their brains were silent on subject reports:

As newspaper editors look back and examine why the controversial Downing Street memo, first published by the Times of London on May 1, received so little coverage in their papers, several of them are pointing to the same culprit: the Associated Press. Editors rely on the worldwide wire service to let them know what's worthy of attention, and that's particularly true for international events. In the case of the Downing Street memo out of London, they say the AP simply failed to cover the story.

Jim Cox, USA Today's senior assignment editor for foreign news, tells Salon that when the story first broke last month, "we looked to wires for guidance" but for days didn't see anything. It was a month before the paper reported on the memo; Cox takes the blame for that omission.

On Sunday, the ombudsman at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune addressed readers' complaints about the paper's lack of Downing memo coverage. According to that account, the paper's nation/world editor, Dennis McGrath, was aware of the memo story when it broke in May, and he and his deputies "began watching for a wire story. A week later, they were still watching. 'We were frustrated the wires weren't providing stories on this,' McGrath said." The paper eventually assigned the story to a local reporter.

We've all been asking this question for weeks. The answer makes me wish I'd never asked.

No wonder it has been so easy for the White House to hijack the mainstream media -- the pilot's seat is otherwise unoccupied. There is isn't a blessed soul anywhere inside the Fourth Estate who has any clue how to make a decision about what is newsworthy, so they are all just so damned relieved when someone tells them what is news.



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