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The State of Journalism Today

Updated October 19 at 8:29 am

Take a look at this brief report that aired on Fox News Thursday. As you can see from the video title, there’s a little problem with it.

Yes, the problem with this reporting is that Congressman Young IS ALIVE.*

He lives still! Now, there are reports that suggest he’s barely alive. But like they say, you can’t be half-pregnant. And despite what you may have heard about zombies roaming the earth, you are either dead or alive, but not both.

But Fox’s Gretchen Carlson is not the only one who mistakenly thought Mr. Young had expired. Luke Russert of NBC News casually tweeted Thursday, Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) has died, he was 82.

No attribution. As if Luke had himself had just gotten off the phone with the morgue.

Well, oops. Russert then tweeted, UPDATE: Young family stmt: Young’s condition turned for the worse over night & he is gravely ill. His doctors say his prognosis is guarded”. I think that should be labeled “CORRECTION,” not ‘UPDATE,” but no matter.

Now I admit a tweet is not exactly a news report. But when a top journalist tweets major news, I think one should expect that it’s true. An NBC News producer also tweeted Young’s death, adding to the sense this bad news must be happening.

Journalism has indeed become a sloppy, careless thing. The need to get stuff on the web ASAP and the grinding 24-hour competition has seen to that. Adding fuel to the flames is that nobody has any money anymore, making news outfits even more desperate to get there first.

Adding a proper grace note to this sad little dirge – the dirge being for journalism, not Rep. Young – Politico ended its piece on Fox’s mistake with the following note:

Correction: An original version of this report stated that Fox News had not corrected the error on air. Carlson issued a correction at 2:23 p.m, approximately 12 minutes after the initial report.

Get well soon, Congressman. You too, journalism.

*UPDATE: Okay, now he really is dead. RIP Mr. Young.

33 Responses to The State of Journalism Today

  1. Good gravy! When I was in J-school, we were taught that, if our mothers told us that the sun rose in the East, stay up all night to confirm it.

          • She’s earned her way to where she is now. From her Wiki: Carlson was previously the co-anchor of the Saturday Early Show, on CBS, along with Russ Mitchell. She joined CBS News as a correspondent in 2000 and began working on The Early Show in 2002. Before her tenure at CBS, Carlson served as a weekend anchor and reporter for KXAS-TV in Dallas, Texas, was an anchor and reporter at WOIO-TV in Cleveland, Ohio, and for WCPO-TV, in Cincinnati. She began her television career in Richmond, Virginia, as a political reporter for WRIC-TV.[9] She began her media career in a franchise called Neighborhood News.

            Carlson was moved to Fox & Friends initially as a weekend substitute host. But on September 25, 2006, a shifting of anchors, which included E.D. Hill moving to the 10 a.m. hour of Fox News Live opened a weekday slot on Fox & Friends, which Carlson filled.


            I miss her on F&F. The day after she left, I couldn’t figure out who was that little blonde sitting in the middle of the comfy couch. I’d never watched “The View” except for various tapes of brief snippets, but I’d heard of Elizabeth Hasselback. Her Wiki shows she has a degree in fine arts, and her start in television was when she was on “Survivor”. Her start in journalism was a one-year stint on the Style Network.

            She may be cute and a darling of the Right Wing for her views on reproductive freedom, but she has some mighty big shoes to fill. And, she likely wouldn’t be in a position to try to fill those shoes if it weren’t for marrying into an influential family.

    • Russert’s dad was Tim Russert, and it’s likely that he has profitted by that. However, he started working professionally in journalism while still in college. I’d never heard of him until I read your post, but I gotta’ say I like the kid. He tweaked Pelosi to her face, and he doesn’t like the way the MFM treat religion: ‘Russert has espoused the view that the American media is biased against people of religious faith, going so far as to suggest that it treats them with a certain degree of snark, labeling them as “puritanical” and “not understanding of others or of different viewpoints”, which in his view is lazy and contributes to “[feeding] the snickering masses”.[16]’

  2. Interesting that Fox is at fault on this one. The major media have been reporting the demise of the GOP for years. But then, according to the White House, only Fox is NOT a real news organization, unlike the Compulsive Barack Channel, Aggressive Barack Channel, and Nauseatingly Barack Channel (CBS, ABC, and NBC). And, of course, there’s MSNBC (Miserably Slanted National Barack Channel) whose chyrons tend to be all pro-Democrat and anti-Republican.

    • Quite honestly, I’ve bailed on Fox. The new Fox and Friends morning show is abysmal, lots of banter and laughter but no substantive news. Elizabeth just doesn’t have any rapport. I like Kilmeade a lot but not Doocy.

      I can stand a bit of O’Reilly at 8 and maybe watch some of Megyn at 9; I’ve caught Gretchen a few times and she’s okay, but nothing to keep me for the whole hour.

      Morning Joe gives me hives. The Today Show is crap. Good Morning America is all about pop culture and how exciting it is that everyone is openly gay. At 7am, I watch CBS This Morning but lately Norah O’Donnell has been downright horrible, so bias its caustic.

      So that leaves me with reruns of My Three Sons or an old movie. I come here for news.

      • As the known world has learned, I no longer get the newspaper and watch the morning blabs. Hasselbeck has the grating voice of a cartoon character, Kilmeade is…offbeat tho he can be funny sort of, Doocy is filler, don’t know who those blonds are. On Morning Joe, it’s the usual suspects–Gibbs, Barnicle, that dopey Donnie guy, Gene HAR HAR Robinson, the prissy Katty person, some Fluffpo guy, I could go on. It’s the usual liberal cant there. But they start with SPORTS so we will think they are real men. Joe himself is changeable, disagreeable, irritating. These shows are for before you are awake–the lost dog, the lost woman, the lost hope in America. I saw Bernstein on O’Relly–I used to know him–and he is foamy-mouthed…jeez, Carl, what happened.

        • I have tried on many different occasions watching Morning Joe but Mika frowning for three hours ruins my day. And as you said, Joe gets on his high horse, and Donny D, what a windbag….

          I’m awake before the roosters, so I want the bulk of my news between 6 and 7. No easy task.

          • Who is that Donny Douche? He reminds me of the brother-in-law who got a pity job in the stock room
            The morning shows are either pathetically cheerful and somehow assume that watching someone make pancakes is fascinating TV, or pontificate on the failures of conservatives and make dour predictions on the fate of the Repubs.. .

      • I “never” watch Fox News (exception would be if I happen to catch it on vacation.)

        NBC looks to have select access to the White House, so their positions are no surprise.

        Good Morning America looks like the natural progression in the career arch of George S. From Clinton war room to “This Week” to GMA. Next up, TMZ or Springer?

      • I’ve mostly switched to FBN — Stuart Varney and Charles Payne in am, Cavuto. Whenever I have moseyed over to Lou Dobbs it has been good. I am clinging to Brett Baier and Special Report, but lately it disappoints. I am truly looking for fair and balanced and having trouble finding it.

  3. Brett Baier beats down Juan Williams — insisting Obamacare failure due to lack of funding and exchanges by Republicans.

    Some people should not be rescued.

  4. God’s blessings and wishes for a speedy recovery, Rep Young. It kinda makes me wonder how many others still serving in Congress are octogenarians?

    As far as the Fox faux pas, it’s all just part of the never-ending soap opera “Inside the Beltway”. Glad I’m almost weaned off TV news. Tired of listening to the newsreaders talking down the precious few people serving in Congress who are fulfilling their promises to constituents.