Friday, March 18, 2005

Kick ‘em when they’re up, kick ‘em when they’re down

(Happy Bring Back the Snakes Day, by the way!)

Apparently, CBS News doesn’t have enough problems; they have to piss me off too.

One of my faculty members asked me to look into buying a copy of a recent 60 Minutes segment about the lawsuit filed by the families of two of Devin Moore’s victims against Rock Star Games. The plaintiffs allege that Grand Theft Auto is essentially a distance education course… in murrrr-derrrrr. (Paul Winfield, host of City Confidential, rest in peace.) The defendants, of course, lawyer up and don’t say anything, but an industry spokesperson says that games don’t kill people, screwed up kids do.

CBS won’t be able to ship us the tape in time for the prof to use it in class, so I did a little more research. You can get a full transcript of the piece on 60 Minutes’ web site. There’s also a link there to watch “free video.” I do love Ed Bradley’s dulcet tones, so I figured I’d give it a look. The quality’s not bad, so I figured I’d recommend that the prof use that video in his class.

I watched the piece, I read along with the transcript… and I noticed that there ain’t no way they’ve got the whole segment online. The segment breaks about half-way through. The plaintiff’s half. The defendants don’t even get a chance to respond.

There is no link on the video page to “go here to read the whole transcript.” There is no link to “go here to buy a tape for 30 bucks.” There is not even a frame at the end to say that this wasn’t the whole segment.

What there is, essentially, is half a news story. Where I come from, we call that an editorial. Unless it’s not labeled. Then we call it yellow journalism.

Hey CBS! In the immortal words of Jon Stewart, “Stop Hurting America.” I’m not asking you to put the whole show online (although it’d be a great thing if you did). $30 is not a bad price and your copyright terms are pretty reasonable. I think it’s not a bad segment, as a whole. I’m just asking you not to foul your own reporting when you put it on the web.

Full disclosure: I’m pretty much a First Amendment absolutist, and that makes me very nearly a libertarian in these issues. So yes, I’m ticked that the folks on my side don’t get to speak. But what I’m more worried about is that I can’t trust any of the video on anymore. I have to assume that all of it is only half the story. Maybe they should just call the website “30 Minutes.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, this is why you always bring your own camera crew to any 60 Minutes interview. Crisis PR rule # 1.

1:25 PM, March 21, 2005  

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