Mass media court blogosphere’s rep for lack of credibility; cheering many developments in development; Obama, McCain and Muslims

Integrity of traditional mass media – gone already? –Cheap, effective food for starving kids, water filters and ‘squito nets; –Obama, McCain, and Muslims.
–Reflections: Off the Top of My Head, by Bob Cramer, June 23, 2008.

. . . TV networks have an understanding that if one of them suffers a loss, as NBC did when Tim Russert died, they’ll wait while family, however scattered, is notified, and then let NBC (in this case) report it first.

But bloggers, and Wikipedia, scooped NBC, reinforcing qualms among thinking people about credibility of blogs in general. Wikipedia’s employee who posted the first note, updating present tense to past tense throughout the article on Russert, saw the scoop nullified very quickly; then it was soon re-posted. The initial posting assumed the information already had been made public. Yes, assumed. Sigh.

Meanwhile the major media maintained credibility. We’ll gradually learn to maintain short credibility lists, I hope, as we cruise for news. (My sources, major newspapers June 23.)

. . . On the other hand, consider this: The Tribune Company continues The Los Angeles Times’ relentless drive to slash newsroom costs. And today it’s reported in sister media that its story a week or two ago, about respected Judge Kozinski posting “pornography” on his public website, wasn’t nearly accurate enough to have made him recuse himself from a high profile case – but he did that, anyway.

It seems that rumermongers had used the blogosphere while major media had been pestered to run the story, which they did not — until the new lean, mean gatekeeping force at The LA Times said what the heck and ran it.

American media haven’t been anywhere near credible enough for a generation, anyway, in my opinion; and if credibility continues to slide, circulation and revenue must continue to go the wrong way. That’s bad; but it’s worse still in a time when governments are the least credible sources of all.

. . . I think it was 60 Minutes telling us last night that Doctors Without Borders developed a peanut butter and powdered milk packet for mothers to feed their starving kids in the poorest areas of the world. The kids love it and they respond almost immediately with weight gain and improved immune response to toxics that surround and invade them.

And this morning’s The Wall Street Journal reported that a Danish firm has a lightweight, long lasting plastic “straw” with filters that kill virtually all bacteria and viruses, although heavy metals and fine-grained dirt may remain. As a side note, the story mentioned that the mosquito-repellant bed netting now being widely distributed in malaria-prone areas now needs re-coating only after three or four years: imagine that! Great news.

. . . The Wall Street Journal’s story, today, about the fine line Barack Obama must tread as he responds against rumors he’s a closet Muslim with an Islamist agenda, earned my praise by also mentioning that John McCain has a somewhat similar public relations problem, after all. He hasn’t proved to be very astute in relating to religion in any sense, and Muslims (and other Arabs) world wide are inclined to think a hawk is a hawk. If they have any such feeling about Obama, I haven’t noticed it. Thank goodness. Bob Cramer.