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O'Keefe, Murdoch make me long for plain-old advertising

July 18, 2011

Someone who studies the press ought to do a comparison between “liberal bias” of the left-wing media and “fiberal bias” of the right-wing media, which breaks the law to obtain facts, or if the facts are inconvenient, makes up their own. In other words, is one form of journalism any better or worse than the other?

My working theory is that it’s kind of a wash, that the two cancel each other out. Reporters on the left might have slanted the facts to their favor, while reporters on the right might not have started out with any facts to begin with.

Or if they do have facts, they’ve been obtained by reporters who are either hacking into private people’s cellphones or posing as hookers.

Since the liberal media has been with us since the time of Jean-Paul Marat, I think we can excuse the conservative press a few excesses as it struggles to catch up. But it shouldn’t be long before the conservative press achieves equality with the liberal press, at which time the conservatives, too, will gut their news-gathering operations, punt on all the important stories of the day and settle for doing hard-hitting spots on this being the 35th anniversary of “Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band.

But until that point, we still can still count on Rupert Murdoch and James O’Keefe to give us some yuks.

If the name of O’Keefe rings a bell, but you can’t quite place him, he’s the bad wittle boy who, when last we heard from him, had been sentenced to home detention with his mommy and daddy for his ham-handed, unsuccessful attempt to illegally tap the phone of a Louisiana Democrat.

But apparently he has climbed out his bedroom window a la Bart Simpson and slid down a tree to freedom, because he is hot on the trail of another expose.

He has already successfully revealed, remember, that NPR and ACORN are liberal organizations. We are still receiving fallout from those shockers.

Yet there is no time to catch our breath, because O’Keefe is now on to something that will “blow the whistle on a $1.2 trillion industry so rotten with fraud that many of those on the inside think their corrupt behavior is normal.”

Oooo, who could that be? The company that makes global-warming scientist action figures? Those evildoers who offer you those extended warranties on lawn furniture? The “journalists” at News Corp. who demand payment in exchange for favors?

Well, actually, you can be pretty sure it’s not that last one because O’Keefe himself is demanding money (yours) in exchange for said whistle-blowing.

In an emailed spam, he said he “needs $30,000 RIGHT AWAY to complete production on this report and refill our nearly exhausted bank account, and the clock is ticking.”

The clock is ticking. What happened, was his allowance late?

I’ll say this — if you’re exposing $1.2 trillion worth of rot, $30,000 seems awfully cheap. Matter of fact, since this kid’s in it for the cash, he might be better served going to the rotten industry itself and asking for hush money.

To those people who contribute $50 or more, O’Keefe has promised that he will list their names among the credits when his documentary comes out.

I’ll give O’Keefe and Murdoch credit. They have found nontraditional revenue streams in the field of journalism, just as everyone else is ready to pronounce the industry dead. That has to count for something.

Although — and I never thought I’d say this — it kind of makes me long for the days of plain-old advertising.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant at www.herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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