Frank Rich, who usually writes for the NY Times earlier in the week in blackface under the name “Charles Blow”, is up to his rote antics this week in condemning the mote in Fox News’s eye (and everybody else really) for not paying enough attention to the real Big Story this week while ignoring the beam in his own:
They Donâ€™t Report. You Donâ€™t Have to Decide.By FRANK RICHPublished: May 8, 2010
â€œDESPITE the major environmental disaster unfolding in the Gulf and the attempted terror attack on New Yorkâ€™s Times Square, President Obama spent his Saturday night laughing it up at the White House Correspondents Dinner,â€ griped Sean Hannity of Fox News last week. His complaint is not inaccurate. But itâ€™s hardly the whole story.
Hereâ€™s the time line from last Saturday. At 6:30 p.m. the abandoned Nissan Pathfinder was found smoking in Times Square. Relevant public officials marooned at the correspondents dinner in Washington quickly got word. Over the next hour and a half, several news organizations spread it as well while Times Square was evacuated. To clear the Broadway theater district at curtain time on Saturday night isnâ€™t like emptying a high school; itâ€™s a virtual military operation. By 8 p.m., the crossroads of the world looked like a ghost town, yet if you tuned in to a cable news network, it wasnâ€™t news. No one seemed to know or to care. On MSNBC, which I was watching, it didnâ€™t even merit a mention on a crawl.
The real news story was that Rich was lotioning himself up to Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz re-runs on MSNBC that Saturday night.Â Shocker, really.Â Imagine how people in Nashville felt on May 3rd when they were flooded on May 1st without a week’s worth of warning like Katrina victims had.
Apparently little short of King Kong climbing up 30 Rock could have grabbed the networkâ€™s attention. When MSNBC did take a brief break from the dinner for news updates at 9:30, Times Square didnâ€™t make the cut. Whether this was due to ignorance, ineptitude or an unwillingness to play party pooper is a distinction without a difference. Real-time coverage of Leno bombing (since when is that news?) mattered more than any actual bombs. Only as the dinner wound down, at 10:54, did MSNBC at last muster a â€œbreaking newsâ€ bulletin about the Times Square story that had in fact been breaking for hours.
The gist of Frank’s typical navel-gazing seems to be that during the White House Correspondent’s Dinner last weekend that the attempted Times Square bombing had not garnered flood-the-zone coverage between the time Faisal Shahzad’s burning Pathfinder was found at 6:30pm and the clearing out of Times Square by 8:00pm.
Does the national news need to be alerted every time a car catches on fire in New York?
Can anyone honestly claim that the attempted Times Square bombing hasn’t gotten wall-to-wall, 24/7 coverage this last week?
Shahzad’s name doesn’t even appear in Rich’s column at all.Â Nor does “Islam” or “jihad” as long as we’re judging sins of omission.
What constitutes Rich’s “closing argument” in his indictment against Fox News, et. al shows he is as guilty as he is clueless:
As we venerate the heroic street vendors who gave America its reality check last weekend, we should remember that they were the first to report what was happening in Times Square and that those covering and attending the White House Correspondents Dinner were the last.
While mentioning the Iceland volcano, Hurricane Katrina, the gulf oil spill and lamenting (of all people) the lack of civility in American politics, Rich failed to note there was some other story going on last week as well out there in Teabagger Country.Â Something about the largest non-hurricane disaster in US history didn’t warrant even a passing acknowledgment in a full page op/ed about ignoring major news stories because they didn’t happen at a Manhattan intersection.
But screw those people, right Frankie?Â The NY Times has consistently pressed the snooze button through every wake-up call the American people have given them on getting their news reporting right.
Better late than never.Â Which is what we got.