Quoting Washington Post/CNN media “critic” Howard Kurtz slamming Headline News for “talking about this constantly on cable for more than a week” and “feasting on this terrible situation,” Brad Jacobson (Media Bloodhound, 3/30/09) also cites Kurtz railing against media obsession with octuplet mother Nadya Suleman on CNN: “The media were demonizing her….all the while capitalizing on America’s latest soap opera.”
But, lo and behold, a “Crossfire-like vapid shouting match” couldn’t be resisted:
Kurtz dedicated an entire segment of this past Sunday’s Reliable Sources to a gratuitous pie fight between two players involved in Nadya “Octomom” Suleman’s never-ending nationally televised freak show. But a little over a month ago, Kurtz decried the media’s exploitation of the octuplet mother for ratings and for doing so under the false pretense that concern for her babies’ well-being drove their 24/7 coverage.
While seeing evidence that “Kurtz seems to signal that he’s in on the joke,” as Jacobson sees it, “the problem is, he’s not just in on the joke, he’s part of the joke of which he’s supposed to be critiquing.” Picking from among “scores of worthy topics [that] were open for a substantive media discussion,” Jacobson writes that Kurtz instead
might have covered the fact that, according to LexisNexis, not one broadcast or cable network news program–including CNN–reported last week’s revelations that Bush administration prosecutors tried to pressure former GuantÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÂ¡namo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, after years of being brutally tortured and having never been charged with a crime, to sign a statement saying he was never tortured and that he committed terrorist acts he didn’t commit in return for his release.
Even though “it’s no Octomom,” Jacobson says this is “merely the kind of story that, consciously or not, affects every single American when millions of them are deprived of its coverage.”