Monday, September 29, 2008

Caylee vs. the Bailout

While the world has been watching the financial markets nearly collapse in a first-of-its-kind meltdown, what news has the Orlando Sentinel been bringing you?

The answer: It depends on whether you are an online reader or a newspaper reader.

If you are an online reader, the Sentinel is not expending much energy on keeping you up to date with the latest economic news that has already cost you big sums of money in terms of the value of your retirement portfolio and/or the value of your home. News, in fact, that is about to cost you a good deal more as a taxpayer, too.

Taking center stage online is the Caylee-Casey saga. The Sentinel covers everything that moves about this tawdry affair, most of which is non news.

About two weeks ago, columnist Mike Thomas asked disingenously whether that's all people are interested in reading. "Tax policy, schmax policy," he wrote. Then he ended the column with, "It seems for a lot of people, that beats watching the real news these days."

Hogwash. If Caylee is all the Sentinel is offering up, what else is there to read? And please don't conjure up the bogey man of the old liberal media elite feeding you the news. I read the Wall Street Journal every day, and it's shoving the economic collapse down my throat. Nobody would call the Wall Street Journal part of the liberal media elite.

I like to think the Journal is doing its job of keeping its readers informed of extremely complicated, bad news. Not so for the Orlando Sentinel, which is tied up in titilation.

Several weeks ago, when the market plummeted more than 300 points, it took the Sentinel a half-hour -- until after the stock exchanges closed -- to update its website to reflect the sliding fortunes of Americans, including many of its own readers. A half-hour in online time is an eternity. Would that happen with the Caylee affair? The answer is a resounding no.

Meanwhile, readers of the paper edition are offered a very different kind of coverage. In today's paper (9-29), the headline reads: "Leaders: Start Bailing." The online paper, however, contains the usual Caylee box on the upper left corner. The headline reads: "Orange Sheriff Beary on Casey Anthony case: 'You might say it's a challenge." No kidding. The only hint of economic turmoil was a link on the rail to the right that stated, "Dow down 300 points in first half hour."

Sunday's paper had a weird cover on "50 Years of NASA. " Now, NASA is certainly a local story in Central Florida, but it didn't merit the kind of coverage it got Sunday during a weekend in which the country's political leaders (nay, heels) are negotiating to literally save the U. S. and world economy from collapse to the tune of $700 billion. That's going to cost every man, woman and child in the United States about $2,000 each or $6,500 per family.

The Caylee tabloid story pales in comparsion, but not to Sentinel editors. Perhaps this is what the Sentinel means by hyper loco coverage.

It is loco alright. Even if you wanted to focus on a local story, it raises a legitimate question: Is Caylee it?

Where are the Sentinel's priorities? Where is the news judgment? What can the editors at the Sentinel be thinking?

The paper must do more. What we are reading/seeing is an insult to a thinking person's intelligence.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maria, Are you aware the Sentinel just posted a job for a copy editor? How long has it been since all the layoffs?