As I think on it more and more, I can’t help but admire what an utterly sloppy piece of journalism was offered by Mr. Olbermann regarding the case of the Cranicks in Obion County, Tenn., referred to recently on this Web log.
I watch Keith, not as often these days as I used to, and I enjoy his show. I think he’s created an interesting format for a television program, and I will always give the man praise for being the sole broadcaster at the time for calling out Donald Rumsfeldballs on his horse shit.
But Keith reminded me the other night that he’s never been in a newsroom. Once upon a time, the guy giving you the news on the TV had an actual background in news journalism. Ed Bliss, Eric Sevaraid, Walter Cronkite, all started in newspapers. Ed Murrow and Fred Friendly, they were radio guys. Betcha at least a few of those guys had to sit through a dreadful city council meeting once in a while.
There are skills and insights that are developed in a newsroom that you just don’t get anywhere else. I entered news journalism at probably the worst time to get in that there could be, at a time when that pursuit would be so devalued as it has been in the last few decades. Journalism is seen now as a “soft” skill, a practice that anyone can pursue. But I can tell you what, a little bit of time spent covering boring local politics would have served Keith pretty well this week. His coverage of this story was an absolute blunder.
And another thing. Besides Keith’s completely ignoring the local political dynamic, he completely ignored another aspect of the story: Liability. Since Cranick hadn’t paid his subscription, he had no contract with the South Fulton Fire Department for services. As such, there’s also no waiver of liability. If those firemen had tried to quench the flames and something had gone wrong, you don’t think this Cranick character would be calling a lawyer first thing in the morning?
Look, it’s sad that this guy lost his house and his pets and all. But if liberals are going to walk around being all smarmy and saying that “you don’t get to have your own facts” and all that, then we have to get the damned story right. Sadly, most liberals I’ve heard or read on this story have been all over the damned place (I had to turn off Randi Rhodes when she was talking about it she had her facts so convuluted).