Chicago Tribune Public Editor Timothy J. McNulty addressed reader discontent over his paper's decision to include in its January 6 paper that week's syndicated Parade magazine insert featuring an outdated cover story and interview with the late Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. The story was written and the magazine published days before Bhutto's murder.
McNulty shared some reader e-mails as well as feedback from Tribune editors, making a point to emphasize that the Trib has no control over Parade's editing nor publication schedule and that the Trib did include an editor's note in the paper about the outdated nature of the Parade insert.
But while McNulty did a good job dealing with this particular controversy, he failed to look at a larger issue that the Parade incident fleshes out: the logistical and editorial weaknesses of traditional print media in a 24/7 news cycle, and how that could push more news consumers away from print and towards online media.
Forget the label "old media," the Parade distribution model in this case seems jurassic, woefully outdated given the nature of the modern news cycle, and particularly so if the Sunday magazine wishes to report on anything of global political import rather than say Hollywood fluff.
Because the Trib's handling of the matter seems ham-handed, it also calls into question the relevance and reliability of newspaper print editions in an unforgiving, 24/7 media universe that's becoming more and more dominated by Internet-based media.
Could it have been just a couple days ago that Chris Matthews claimed that the media had made a "mascot" out of Mike Huckabee? You wouldn't know it from this morning's Today show.
Weekend host Lester Holt kicked off the show's political segment by implying that among presidential candidates, Huckabee was the big loser in his handling of the Pakistani situation.
LESTER HOLT: The murder of Benazir Bhutto is having a big impact on the presidential race here in this country, where we now stand just five days from the first contest, in Iowa, and it's forcing Republican Mike Huckabee to do a bit of backtracking.
Should I be worried? I just agreed with something Neal Gabler said. On yesterday's Fox News Watch, the liberal media critic opined that the MSM is backing Benazir Bhutto over Pervez Musharraf in the current Pakistan crisis -- and not for the loftiest of motives.
And could Hillary fall prey to the scenario that brought down Michael Dukakis?
Careening from the accusatory to the adoring, there was only one constant in Ann Curry's interview of Benazir Bhutto aired on this morning's "Today": an over-the-top emotionalism that had the show's news anchor lurching from shouted accusations to the verge of tears.
Curry is in Pakistan this week, and scored an exclusive with Bhutto, whose triumphal return to the country where she has served as Prime Minister ended in tragedy as terrorist bombs on her motorcade route killed about 140 people. Curry began her interview by focusing on Bhutto's feelings of responsibility for those deaths. While the transcript is telling, only the video completely conveys Curry's mawkish meltdown.