Monday, July 31, 2006

News Judgment Takes The Weekend Off at New York TV Stations

Newscasts For The Journalistically Impaired
In just a short time of channel surfing last night, I was witness to a panoply of sloppiness and cluelessness on New York newscasts even worse than usual. Chalk it up to the summer heat, or perhaps the usual crews on holiday. Either way, it was bewildering and disappointing at the same time.
Exhibit A: WPIX-Channel 11 had a report on the New York Fire Patrol possibly being disbanded. Left out of the three-minute piece, however, was any real explanation of what the Fire Patrol does.
According to the patrol's union, it is underwritten by the insurance industry and responds to "commercial fires in the five Boroughs and risk their lives to minimize and prevent adverse consequences of commercial fires."
But that was not made clear in the report, which heavily relied on union mouthpieces. The package was more of a press release than an episode in explanatory journalism.
Over on WWOR-Channel 9 (My 9 News), a graphic for the piece on drunk-driving, Jew-hating Mel Gibson was plastered with the misspelled "Anti-Semetic Remarks."
Meanwhile, Chris Wragge on WCBS-Channel 2 led off the first segment of his sports wrap-up show with a package on the Yankees. Fair enough. But then he goes to a break and teases the next segment filled with footballl, including his non-news interview with Giants' star LeVar Arrington.
Gone begging: only the Mets, you know, the team with the best record in the National League who just happened to sweep the Atlanta Braves on the road, the first time that's happened since 1979.
Wragge would do well to his show should be full of sports not himself.

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