Edward Wasserman’s April 12 commentary (“The painful costs of media restraint,”) is a superb analysis and to the point.
What media should do in these circumstances is complicated and difficult. Restraint can be justified. As a news director for WISH TV Indianapolis, I did not approve coverage of suicides or bomb scares, for example, unless they had a secondary effect on the public or created a news event. The suicide of a public official or a resulting evacuation of an NFL stadium for example rose to the level of news, and thus we made exceptions.
As for fringe extremists like the man who burned the Koran, perhaps we need a new journalistic designation. Maybe a column or section for dubious events or actions of the unreasonable, extreme or those of questionable sanity and/or rationality might do. Wasserman is right, we should not suppress — but we also do not want to be complicit in providing publicity or undue attention. I used to tell my staff: “Proportionality is important.”
Somehow a small section for small minds seems seems plausible.
Not much left over
Regarding the S&P downgrade of its U.S. debt rating: Not that S&P has a clue (remember their AAA rating on virtually worthless mortgage funds), but even it can understand that when one party wants to give everyone something and the other party feels no one should be taxed at what might be called fair rates — there isn’t much left over to pay bills, fight wars, pave roads, fly in space, and generally run a country in a fiscally responsible manner.
Question for senator
Thank you for your coverage of the April 8 rally at the San Luis Obispo City-County Library to protest state budget cuts. Apparently your reporter did not fully understand the point of the rally.
We are facing massive additional cuts unless there is an agreement within the state Legislature to maintain current tax rates or find additional revenues. These additional cuts will not hit everyone equally. They will continue to dismantle the social safety net, leaving more people homeless, hungry and desperate.
This is the concern that Central Coast Clergy and Laity for Justice wishes to bring to Sen. Blakeslee’s attention. The state budget is a moral document which reflects the values of its creators. To hold seniors, the disabled and the unemployed hostage to a political agenda is not an act of compassion.
Is California a compassionate state which cares for its citizens? Or are we content to victimize the most vulnerable in order to make a point about pension plans and spending caps?
That is the question that Sen. Blakeslee needs to address.
Executive director, Central Coast Clergy and Laity for Justice