AP and CNN Go Tabloid on South African Runner’s Gender

Eighteen-year-old Caster Semenya, a runner from South Africa, just blew away the competition in the women’s 800-meter world championship race. But the news reports yesterday weren’t about that–they were about whether she’s “really” a woman or not. And supposedly serious outlets like the AP and CNN are sinking to tabloid levels of coverage on the issue. The AP video of the controversy, posted on the L.A. Times website, kicks off: “Quick! Man–or woman?” The piece includes slow pans over Semenya’s body, more tabloidy commentary (“She–and yes, SHE claims to be a woman”), and the offering of her voice as some […]


The Exception That Proves the Rule

Brad Jacobson has a new Media Bloodhound post (4/21/09) lauding CNN anchor Anderson Cooper for his “refreshing” refusal of “a generic phony Devil’s advocate stance” when scholar Mark Danner “torpedoed” CNN analyst David Gergen’s claim that the number of people who were interrogated [by U.S. personnel] with these harsh and, I think, torturous techniques was fairly limited. It was, of the thousands of people who were captured, it was about some 30 or 35 whom these techniques were used. Instead, Cooper “actually set up Danner’s response to Gergen’s allegations with…facts and context”: Cooper: Do we know how many people died […]