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Cause Celebrity (Appreciating the celebrity of the media)
Ted Landphair's America ^ | 07/10/2009 | Ted Landphair

Posted on 07/14/2009 10:14:38 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan

What’s the difference between a prehistoric dinosaur and a journalist dinosaur?

A prehistoric dinosaur didn’t know it was a dinosaur.

The “bullpen” at the New York Times in September 1942, my birth month. For the benefit of our young readers, the instrument in the foreground is a “rotary” telephone, and those things spread across the desks are printed newspapers.

The old notion of a resourceful “ink-stained wretch” digging for facts out of the public eye, plucking the truth from complex human events, and writing about it all has been pushed aside on the fast track of media celebrity. Journalism’s tent of writers, reporters, and editors from various media had to be greatly expanded to hold today’s “pundits,” politically biased bloggers, glib Tweeters, “TV titans,” and “news moguls” who not only pushed their way in but immediately took over the center ring.

The last two — the titans and the moguls — are two of the categories featured on a new Web site,, created by NBC television legal analyst Dan Abrams. That’s media-ite, not mediate or meditate. Abrams and his crew are not divorce lawyers or zenmasters. They’re practitioners of the modern art of sizzle.

Abrams told the Washington Post, "Part of what we're doing is appreciating the celebrity of the media." The site "plays into the vanity of these individuals," added Managing Editor Colby Hall. He is a former producer of the “Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” which does satirical, make-believe newscasts and pretend reports from the field on cable’s Comedy Central channel.

Not exactly the gruff, fuddy-duddy “just the facts” days before “news personalities” started elbowing each other for “face time” so they could be the story.

These are Maxim magazine’s “10 hottest news anchors.” The woman in the middle of the top row looks like she has anger issues.’s initial posting included a lengthy “Power Grid” — what the site calls an “influence index,” or rating, of 1,477 “important players” (not journalists, “players”) in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and the online world. Television anchors and hosts, for instance, were rated on such scales as number of total viewers, “Google buzz,” and “blog buzz.” Print and online reporters were ranked by the same two forms of “buzz,” plus their publications’ circulation.

I fully understand why I didn’t make the list. The only thing at which I’m a “player,” and then only occasionally, is poker. The site advises those with wounded egos who might be asking, “Why am I not on here” that “you may not be a well known person in the media.”

We don’t “move that needle,” generate “buzz,” or “push product.”

My colleagues and I who toil in pitiful anonymity don’t mind ceding the spotlight to performers, including clowns, so long as there’s still a ring for news and information.

You remember “news and information,” that musty term from the cultural crypt.

Another burning question: Do we even need newspapers any more?

When I was in journalism school — most are “communications departments” now — students and professors argued incessantly over which was our calling: Bringing readers, listeners, and viewers what they need to know? Or giving them what they want?

That race has been run, and the results are in — on the Power Grid at

-This is a far-ranging, highly personal exploration of American life by a veteran Voice of America reporter and essayist. Ted will focus on some of the thousands of places he has visited and written about as an international broadcaster and author of more than 50 "coffee table" books.

TOPICS: Books/Literature; Education; Humor; Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: celebrity; journalism; mainstreammedia; reporters's current Power Grid rankings ...

TV Anchors/Hosts
1. Oprah Winfrey
2. Katie Couric
3. Dr. Phil McGraw
4. Bill O'Reilly
5. Conan O'Brien

TV Reporters
1. Jake Tapper
2. Andrea Mitchell
3. Yunji de Nies
4. Chuck Todd
5. Claire Shipman

TV Pundits
1. Karl Rove
2. Pat Buchanan
3. Newt Gingrich
4. Dr. Sanjay Gupta
5. Tom Brokaw

Radio Hosts
1. Rush Limbaugh
2. Glenn Beck
3. Sean Hannity
4. Mark Levin
5. Michael Savage

Other categories not listed above: Media Moguls, TV Titans, TV Executives, Magazine Editors, Newspaper/Online Editors, Print/Online Reports, Print/Online Columnists, Magazine Titans

(Like we need to feed the media's ego. Give me a break.)

1 posted on 07/14/2009 10:14:38 PM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
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To: BuckeyeTexan


2 posted on 07/14/2009 10:19:17 PM PDT by allmost
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