Friday, October 27, 2006

Media Honesty Part I

American Press Institute has a scheme to save newspapers called NEWSPAPER NEXT: The Transformation Project. Along with Global partners AP, BBC, Reuters and Qualcomm, they, so they say, are "committed to a better-informed society." So, how come if they wanted us to be so much better-informed does their bio of a API discussion leader Shelby Coffey II fail to mention what is he is most famous for?

While editor of the Los Angeles Times Coffey issed a PC-empassioned directive to the newsroom that henceforth some 150 words were not to be used. Even the hypersensives in our society might have found the list far reaching. Don't take my word for it. Stanley Meisler, the cheerleading biogragrapher of Kofi Annan wrote:
A few years ago, the Los Angeles Times released a long list of diversity guidelines admonishing reporters not to use expressions that various peoples might find offensive. The condemned expressions included Dutch treat, welsh on a bet, and paddy wagon. News of the rules spread quickly throughout the country, and Times editor Shelby Coffey III, who released the guidelines to his staff with some fanfare, soon became a laughing stock of American journalism.
Meisler wasn't the only one who thought so. Unfortunately the best skewering of Coffeey's diversity directory was by Christopher Hitchens and isn't online. But it was puncturing as only Hitchens can be.

Not, of course, that that fiasco dimmed Coffey's career. But you would think integrity would demand a reality check. Apparently not, as Coffey took up writing about leadership. His prime prime examples of brilliance being Arthur Sulzberger, Ted Turner, and NBC News president Neal Shapiro. Last I looked, the New York Times sold less papers in their home town than the New York Post, Ted Turner had to be bailed out by Time-Warner, and NBC is nearly bankrupt.

Coffey is now a senior fellow of the Freedom Forum, "a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech, and free spirit for all people." Too bad they aren't committed to honesty.

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