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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘ABC’

The Monitor’s Reading List

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

In response to occasional reader inquiries, the Monitor has put together the following list of some worthwhile books on the media, arranged in no particular order. (Though many of the titles are out of print or otherwise hard to come by, most should be available at any decent-sized public library. And thanks to the Internet, even books long out of print are available at surprisingly affordable prices from sites like Amazon and Alibris.)

The Powers That Be (Knopf, 1979) by David Halberstam: Still ranks as one of the best all-around histories of the American news media, with an abundance of interesting anecdotes and insightful observations.

The House That Roone Built: The Inside Story of ABC News (Little Brown, 1994) by Marc Gunther: For decades ABC was an industry joke, a distant third to CBS and NBC in both prime-time programming and news coverage. Then Roone Arledge, who’d already made ABC into a sports powerhouse, took over the news operation in 1977 and took it to the top.

Who Killed CBS? (Random House, 1988) by Peter Boyer: As ABC News moved upward in the 1980’s, CBS headed in the opposite direction thanks primarily to a misguided policy aimed at injecting more “entertainment” into news coverage. Add an unstable ownership situation, draconian budget cuts and the consistently weird behavior of Dan Rather, and you’ve got all the elements for a fascinating story.

It’s Alive! How America’s Oldest Newspaper Cheated Death and Why It Matters (Villard, 1996) by Steven Cuozzo: Behind-the-scenes look at the ups and downs of the New York Post.

The Kingdom And The Power (World, 1969) by Gay Talese: Published way back in 1969, the book remains invaluable for its inside view of the individuals who ran The New York Times for most of the 20th century.

My Times (Grosset/Putnam, 1993) by John Corry: Highly individualistic first-person account by a gifted prose stylist who happened to be that rarest of birds – a conservative reporter at The New York Times.

The Trust (Little Brown, 1999) by Susan Tifft and Alex Jones: Detailed, warts-and-all history of the Ochs-Sulzberger dynasty that owns and runs The New York Times.

The Paper: The Life and Death of the New York Herald Tribune (Alfred A. Knopf, 1986) by Richard Kluger: The story of the newspaper that for decades was widely respected for the scope of its coverage and the literacy of its writing.

The Great American Newspaper: The Rise and Fall of the Village Voice (Scribner, 1978) by Kevin McAuliffe: Unvarnished look at the pioneering countercultural weekly, from its founding in the 1950’s to the beginnings of its steady decline in the mid-70’s.

Read All About It! The Collected Adventures of a Maverick Reporter (Summit Books, 1982) by Sidney Zion: More than a collection of essays and columns, it’s also a hard-boiled memoir of the newspaper business in the 1960’s and 70’s.

Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity (Knopf, 1994) by Neal Gabler: Definitive biography of Walter Winchell, not only the most powerful journalist of his time but someone ahead of his time in understanding how the culture of celebrity shapes the news.

Theirs Was the Kingdom: Lila and Dewitt Wallace and the Story of the Reader’s Digest (W.W. Norton, 1993) by John Heidenry: Unsentimental, finely written account of the amazing success of a publication scorned by literary and academic elites but beloved by millions of readers around the world.

Why Didn’t the Press Shout? American and International Journalism and the Holocaust (Yeshiva University Press/Ktav, 2003) edited by Robert M. Shapiro: Collection of essays by thirty scholars examining how news of the Holocaust was covered in various countries.

Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics (Free Press, 1991) by Larry Sabato: A look at the major (and not so major) political scandals of the seventies and eighties and how they were covered by the news media.

Hot Air: All Talk, All the Time (Times Books, 1996) by Howard Kurtz: Solid account of the growth of talk radio and TV shoutfests, though the book could use an update.

Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way (Random House, 1991) by Ken Auletta: Detailed recounting of the troubles that plagued the original Big Three networks, CBS, NBC and ABC, in the 1980’s.

Travel Guides From Pelican Publishing

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

Our friend, Mr. Ben G. Frank – the famous, inimitable Judaic travel writer – has written a new edition of A Travel Guide To The Jewish Caribbean & South America. The book is subtitled “A practical, anecdotal and adventurous journey through historic Jewish Caribbean and South America, including kosher restaurants, cafes, synagogues, museums, plus cultural and heritage sites.”

Through 15 chapters, Mr. Frank gives us Brazil, the Netherlands Antilles (the “ABC” islands – Aruba, Curacao and the Dutch islands), the U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas and St. Croix), Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Martinique and Guadeloupe, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico. Wherever in the Americas you want to wander, Ben Frank has probably been there and his book offers advice on what to see, what to do, where to stay, and what to eat.

Although reading through this over 550-page tome completely may take a bit of time, one may begin with Ben’s introduction and the chapter of the country that the reader is planning to visit.

* * *

Now that several kosher cruises have been introduced for Jewish travelers, Steven B. Stern’s Guide To The Cruise Vacation will become one of most useful volumes for those exploring this travel mode. Stern provides complete descriptions of every major cruise ship and port of call worldwide.

Whatever kosher tours may be available, whether for Pesach or some other time of year, all of the ships are included in Stern’s guide. He describes the various kinds of staterooms, services and facilities aboard ship, activities for families, singles, and children. The Guide provides ratings and specific advice for each ship of every cruise line’s fleet, as well as advice about what to pack (and what not to pack), and the most interesting things to see and do in many ports of call. Sample menus, although not provided for the kosher tours, give an idea of the style of cuisine that may be available.

* * *

With the Pesach holiday coming very quickly and summer just around the corner, the two new guides: Weekend Getaways In Pennsylvania, 2nd Edition, by Bill Simpson, and Weekend Getaways Around Washington, D.C. by Robert Shosteck should both be very handy for families planning day trips, weekends or even longer.

In his introduction, Mr. Simpson provides some very good advice – a weekend getaway doesn’t actually have to be on a weekend. By definition, a weekend trip is usually on a Saturday and Sunday, but hotels and motels most often charge less on weekdays, and museums and attractions are never as crowded during the week as they are on weekends.

Pennsylvania is replete with beautiful, warm and inviting small towns and gorgeous countryside and back roads. Chances are that the kids may be going to a summer camp in the state. You can turn that camp visit into your own mini-vacation.

When we think of a visit to Washington, D.C., we think first of the White House, the Capitol, Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution, but for those taking a slightly longer trip – the surrounding areas, including Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware are replete with history and interest as well. Mr. Shosteck has set out to help us explore the entire Delaware Valley basin area from North Carolina through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with many specific recommendations of historic sites, tourist attractions, and small museums.

For more information about these and other Pelican guides, check their website: www.pelicanpub.com or email: promo@pelicanpub.com

Grading TV’s War Coverage

Wednesday, May 28th, 2003

Due to pressing post-holiday obligations, the Monitor yields this week to the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker and Rich Noyes, who prepared the following summary of MRC’s assessment of war coverage by American television:

“While it only lasted about three weeks, the second Gulf War was an unqualified success. Jubilant Iraqis danced in the streets as U.S. military forces rolled into the center of Baghdad, while the dictator Saddam Hussein and his evil cohorts were, as General Tommy Franks put it on April 11, either dead or “running like hell.”

“But what about TV’s coverage of the war? A new MRC Special Report finds while the media covered many aspects of the war well - reports from embedded journalists were refreshingly factual and mostly devoid of commentary - TV’s war news exhibited problems detected during previous conflicts: too little skepticism of enemy propaganda, too much mindless negativism about America’s military prospects, and a reluctance on the part of most networks to challenge the premises of anti-war activists or to expose their radical agenda:

“Networks: By refusing to copy the reflexive skepticism of most of the media elite, those who watched the Fox News Channel weren’t misled by the unwarranted second-guessing and negativism that tainted other networks’ war news. The main blemish on FNC’s war record occurred on March 30 when Geraldo Rivera, traveling with the 101st Airborne Division, boastfully disclosed the unit’s mission.

“In contrast, ABC received a near-failing grade for knee-jerk negativism that played up Iraqi claims of civilian suffering, hyped American military difficulties and indulged anti-war protesters with free air time. ABC’s Chris Cuomo even promoted anti-war protesters as “prescient indicators of the national mood,” even as polls showed most Americans supported the war. (Details on all networks at www.mrc.org)

“Anchors: All of the network anchors received high grades except for the highly tendentious Peter Jennings, who played up any defeatist angle he could find. Five days before Baghdad fell, Pentagon reporter John McWethy warned, “This could be, Peter, a long war.” Jennings felt vindication: “As many people had anticipated.”

“Embedded Reporters: These reporters excelled when they acted as the viewers’ eyes and ears in Iraq. NBC’s David Bloom, in his innovative Bloommobile, was the star of the group, offering hours of riveting live coverage of the Third Infantry’s historic drive toward Baghdad, while CNN’s Walter Rodgers narrated hour upon hour of armored troop movements, often under enemy fire, without straying from his “just the facts” style.

“On the other hand, ABC’s Ted Koppel spent his time pontificating as if he – not the vast military force that surrounded him – were the real star. “Forget the easy victories of the last twenty years; this war is more like the ones we knew before,” he lectured on the March 24 Nightline. “Telling you if and when things are going badly for U.S. troops, enabling you to bear witness to the high cost of war, is the hard part of our job,” he asserted. “We’ll do our very best to give you the truth in the hope and the belief that you can handle it.”

“Baghdad Reporters: Until the Iraqi dictatorship ran away April 9, Baghdad-based reporters were controlled by the Ministry of Information. Given the impediments to accurate reporting, networks should have used such reporters sparingly. Instead, ABC gave a great deal of time to the uncorroborated stories of civilian suffering which freelancer Richard Engel reported, including an April 2 claim that the U.S. had bombed a “maternity hospital.”

“National Geographic Explorer’s Peter Arnett, who was heavily used by MSNBC and NBC before he was fired, was the most outrageously biased Baghdad reporter. On March 26 on NBC’s Today, Arnett twice reported Iraqi claims that the U.S. had used “cluster bombs” to kill dozens at a Baghdad marketplace, a claim later rebutted by NBC’s Pentagon reporter Jim Miklaszewski. That was days before his infamous appearance on Iraqi TV, but spouting enemy propaganda on NBC’s airwaves was not a firing offense.”

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com  

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/grading-tvs-war-coverage/2003/05/28/

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