There was a really important and truly revealing embarrassment at a major news outlet last week, and it wasn’t Brian Williams inspiring some really great “Brian Williams Misremembers” tweets. The relevance of broadcast evening news has been on the steady decline ever since Howard Beale went mad as hell in front of the wood paneling of UBS.
BTW if you didn’t get that last reference, a) shame on you, and b) stop reading this immediately and go find a copy of the movie Network and watch it before you do anything else ever.
Anyway, there was another media gaffe that went comparatively under the radar, but deserved much more attention.
Senator Rand Paul posted on Twitter a picture of his receiving a booster shot for his measles vaccination. He wondered aloud how the liberal media would misreport it. Justin Miller, senior editor for The Daily Beast, responded with a thought-provoking and eloquent response, “Fuck You.”
The editor of course subsequently deleted the post, ad acknowledged that perhaps he should try something called “facts” rather than base obscenities. He also lamented how the post from his personal Twitter might reflect badly on The Daily Beast.
Let’s look at that last point. Miller was right to be concerned about the Twitter Tourette’s reflecting badly on his outlet. But the problem wasn’t that it BECAME OBVIOUS what the editor thinks of the Republican. The issue is that this IS the editor’s opinion, and he felt strong enough to commit it to print.
Daily Beast is known to be a pretty left-of-center outlet by those who pay attention. But it’s still “mainstream” enough to be considered reputable. It owns (or at least recently owned… I don’t really care enough to look it up) the Newsweek brand.
That people who drop F-Bombs on politicians are editors at top websites is more important, in the long run, than Brian Williams having been Lincoln’s proofreader for the Gettysburg Address. Sites like Politico, The Hill, The Daily Beast and Huffington Post are increasingly drivers of the conversation. Network news anchors are dinosaurs. Today, 99% of Americans wouldn’t recognize David Muir, anchor of ABC’s evening news broadcast, if shown a picture of him, according to this study in I Just Totally Made That Stat Up Magazine.
Most of the discussion this past week was about NBC News and Brian Williams. Let’s look at who’s at the outlets that still actually have influence.