Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Friday, February 18, 2005

You be the editor

Could you be the editor of a major mainstream media television news operation? Take the test below and find out.

You have been directed to arrange to have a segment on a recent major event in journalism covered. You have two events from which to choose. Each involves an individual in a journalistic capacity who resigned his position.

(1) Individual number one is the head of new operations for a major competing television network. This individual was said to have claimed that American jounalists were targetted for assasination by U.S. forces in Iraq. The claim was made at an international conference widely attended by opponents of the U.S. and the comment drew considerable applause. After the story broke, the individual in question claimed that he was misunderstood. Subsequently, a number of other individuals who heard the speech confirmed the remark and bloggers discovered that this same individual had previously made similar comments to other anti-U.S. audiences. Finally, it turns out that this individual had previously agreed to have his network serve as a virtual "house organ" for the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq. Unable to respond to the criticism, this individual has resigned.

(2) Individual number two was an individual assigned to cover events at the White House. This person attracted attention by asking questions that were not considered to be adequately hostile to the administration. Various bloggers discovered that the indivdual in question was working for an admittedly conservative news reporting organization. In addition, they discovered that the individual had been using a different name that his real name and, furthermore, that he had arranged to have Internet domain names assigned to him that were considered to be potentially usable for gay pornography. The White House was apparently aware of the indivual's real name. This individual has also resigned as a correspondent for the conservative news service.

So which story do you choose? The one involving the head of a major competing news organization or the one that suggests that the White House may have encouraged a "friendly" reporter who had a bit of an unusual background.

While most folks would probably choose number (1) which involved the resignation of Eason Jordan as the head of CNN's news division, the actual editor at NBC choose number (2) which involves James Guckert who was actually using the name Jeff Gannon.


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