Nearly three million people have watched on You Tube as Mika Brzezinski refuses to report on the Paris Hilton story; until yesterday I was not one of those people. I had heard about the encounter and rejoiced in her defiance, but I only stumbled onto the clip after reading Taking the Lead over at the Stop Big Media blog which is published through Free Press. Actually watching the event unfold went well beyond reading about it, and I was shocked to see the rest of the news team's reaction to her actions.Despite the way Joe Scarborough mocked his colleague for taking the initiative, Jack Cafferty at CNN's the Situation Room has followed suit. During a recent broadcast, Cafferty asked the operator of his teleprompter, "I wonder if we can get the Lindsay Lohan DUI arrest out of the teleprompter and put my script in it, is that possible?" Seconds later Cafferty concluded, "Apparently it's not." America's obsession with celebrities is nothing new and neither is the disproportionate amount of time newscasts have focused on their lives, but things seemed to reach an all-time low following the death of Anna Nicole Smith. Neither Paris nor Lindsay's drama seemed to improve matters and at least two journalists have decided to take matters into their own hands by refusing to report on matters that shouldn't be considered news. Will these rebellious acts of journalistic integrity spread to others or will threats from management scare these newscasters into submission? Perhaps the media companies will examine the comments that these clips have accrued and encourage their staff to act independently. I doubt it, but it can't hurt to dream. The post at Stop Big Media concludes with a call to action encouraging the public to demand more from their news:
If information is the lifeblood of the democracy, these videos remind us that Big Media is making us ill. We need to keep demanding real journalism, and refusing to settle for fake news and celebrity fluff.Until that happens, my hat goes off to Jack Cafferty and Mika Brzezinski for standing up for their principles.