Spoonfeeding the reporters

It seems that more and more news stories these days are just the results of what publicists, leakers and political operatives spoonfeed to reporters, with very little investigation.

Take the latest salvo in the ugly campaign for Virginia Senate between George Allen and Jim Webb. Allen operatives provided steamy excerpts from Webb’s books, attempting to paint him as a misogynist. According to the Post:

“Allen campaign officials provided excerpts from the books — some of them depicting acts of incest and graphic sexuality — to the Drudge Report Web site Thursday night. … Allen’s aides, who have been trying to get other news organizations to write about the excerpts for weeks, issued statements saying the fictional scenes in Webb’s novels reflect poorly on Webb’s character and fitness for office.”

Once Drudge bit, the mainstream media had to pile on. From the coverage, it was clear most reporters were relying strictly on the excerpts provided by the campaign.

Webb responded that the work was fiction and was taken entirely out of context. He pointed to a book written by Lynne Cheney. “You can read Lynne Cheney’s lesbian love scenes if you want to get graphic on stuff,” he said.

The Post writes:
“Her book is out of print and difficult to find, but independent reviews describe it as highly sexual and “steamy” and mention lesbian characters.”

Difficult to find? Try searching for “lynne cheney sisters”. The first result contains a link to download the full text of the book.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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1 Response to Spoonfeeding the reporters

  1. Here’s a great, non-political example of what you’re talking about.

    Their justification for “advertainment” is to create revenue streams in a TiVo age, but who would TiVo a local network morning show??

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