Monday, July 04, 2011

"Making up the news instead of reporting it"

I don’t usually rely on Entertainment TV’s “The Soup” for media commentary. Usually, watching this show’s compilation of clips from what passes for “reality TV” just leaves me shaking my head in disgust. But this week they extended their domain into some legitimate media criticism, taking on “Newsweek”.

It seems that the latest issue featured a story about what Lady Diana might be doing these days, had she not died in a tragic car crash nine years ago. The story includes Photoshopped pictures of what Diana might look like, turning fifty. They conjecture that she’d still be cutting edge, picturing her holding an iPhone and even including a hypothetical Facebook page. There you can read her posts, including one where she says she is now friends with Camilla Parker Bowles, her ex’s new wife. Charles even chimes in with a thumbs-up “Prince Charles likes this” posting.

Really? It has come to this? Newsweek and its publisher Tina Brown have now taken to making up the news instead of reporting it? We all know that the magazine business is in trouble, but when our “news” weeklies take to writing fiction, we know the end must be near.

Ms. Brown’s remake of this once creditable mag took four months, and her first issue in March drew pans. Even before her arrival, Newsweek was hurting badly with circulation down from four million in 2003 to 1.5 million in 2010.

But is this the solution to sagging sales? Offering up tawdry People-style fiction instead of journalism? God, I hope not!


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