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Opening Arguments

In the mix

It's a matter of judgment:

How do the journalists at Nightline define news? On Monday night, co-host Dan Harris and reporter Mariana van Zeller spent an astonishing nine minutes and 33 seconds on the salacious, gossipy phenomenon of "bootleg butt injections." Yet, it's been 123 days, 17 and a half weeks, since the show's hosts have focused on ObamaCare and the problems with the law's implementation.

Now, I have no partciular love for this particular member of the liberally biased mainstream press, but this criticism seems to be a little unfair. Yes, Obamacare problems are a big story, and Nightline can be faulted for not mentioning them at all. And the "bootleg butt injections" story is certainly frivolous.
But you can't judge a news operation just by one juxtaposition such as this. There are lots of serious stories out there -- how many did Nightline cover and how many did they miss? And how many frivolous stories did they throw into the mix with the serious stories? All of us in the news business were taught early on that the trick is to find just the right mix of "important" stories and "reader (or viewer) interest" stories. I couldn't properly judge Nightline without watching it enough to study the mix.
Which ain't ever gonna happen because, well, you know.
And if we're going to talk about news judgment, let's throw in the missing airliner. There have been thousands and thousands of hours of coverage with absolutely no information and nothing but increasingly bizarre speculation.

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)—CNN apologized to its viewers today for briefly airing a story on Sunday that had nothing to do with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

The story, which caused thousands of viewers to contact the network in anger, had something to do with Crimea, Ukraine, and Russia.

In the official apology, CNN chief Jeff Zucker wrote, “On Sunday, we briefly cut away from our nonstop coverage of Flight 370 to talk about something else. We’re not going to sugarcoat it: we messed up. CNN regrets the error and promises our viewers that it won’t happen again.”