Media Blog

“The Paris Hilton of Television News”

The New York Times has a report on how the Obama/madrassa rumor sparked a war of words between CNN and Fox News Channel. Although CNN is on the right side of the facts, Fox News got in the better zinger:

CNN’s political director, Sam Feist, said he had seen the Insight report discussed on “Fox and Friends.” Mr. Feist said he wanted to determine the validity of what he said, if true, would be a “holy-cow political story,” so he sent a correspondent, John Vause, to Jakarta from Beijing. Mr. Vause’s report, broadcast Monday on CNN, described the Jakarta school as unaffiliated with Islamic fundamentalism. The school headmaster said it was a “public school” that did not “focus on religion.” […]
In comments after Mr. Vause’s report, the CNN anchors Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper seemed to chide others for not practicing legitimate journalism on the story. “CNN did what any serious news organization is supposed to do in this kind of a situation,” Mr. Blitzer said. “We actually conducted an exclusive firsthand investigation inside Indonesia to check out the school.”
Mr. Cooper said: “That’s the difference between talking about news and reporting it. You send a reporter, check the facts, and you decide at home.”
A Fox News spokeswoman, Irena Briganti, said CNN was mainly looking for publicity in attacking its higher-rated rival. Of Mr. Cooper’s comment, she said, “Yet another cry for attention by the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper.”

Cooper’s mother is railroad heiress Gloria Vanderbilt.
UPDATE: Just to clear this up, I’m not saying that FNC’s “better zinger” excuses its journalistic lassitude in this particular instance. I’m just saying that Anderson Cooper is intolerably smug, and I thought Briganti’s remark was funny.

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