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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Give Me a Break, Stossel!

Since I come from a journalism background (and am still a quasi-journalist), I am always fascinated by how media outlets cover big stories.

It’s hard to maintain the proper balance sometimes between too much and not enough. And the Michael Jackson story is a perfect example of that. There are those who feel he shouldn’t get so much attention because of his alleged behavior with children. And then there are those (like me) who feel he does deserve attention because he was a true music icon.

And then there are those who apparently have no common sense. I would put ABC’s John Stossel in that category…

The “NY Post” reported this morning that Stossel had blasted his bosses on his ABC News blog for pulling his “20/20” report on Canadian healthcare last Friday night in favor of a Michael Jackson story. So I checked it out myself. And sure enough, there it is, in black and white:

“I am sick of the Michael Jackson coverage…Of course, maybe my bosses made the wrong choice. Maybe more viewers would have tuned in for my health care report. But the beauty of the market is that if they regularly choose wrong, they will go bankrupt.”

As Stossel himself would say, give me a break! As you will recall, last Friday night was barely 24 hours after Jackson died. How can you say you are sick of the coverage when it had just started? And I’m sure his report on Canadian health care was very important, but if they had shown that instead of some kind of Jackson story, wouldn’t that have made ABC News look out of touch?

If they had pulled his story this Friday night, I would understand his frustration. But to me, this shows a total lack of understanding of what is news. Regardless of how you feel about Jackson, you have to admit that his death is news. And I can’t see how taking five minutes on an hour-long news magazine is too much coverage.

I sincerely hope that ABC takes a good look at Stossel’s behavior. It’s one thing to trash your bosses on Facebook or MySpace, but on the website that they maintain? OUCH!

What do you think? Was Stossel right to be upset?

You can read his post for yourself here.