Monday, April 02, 2007

Pets vs People: Pets Win Again

I love my dog, Argus. I would be devastated if anything happened to him. But I still cannot comprehend why the tainted pet food story has taken the lead on our local newscast every night since the story broke--with the exception of a brief "breaking news" story on the tsunami in the Solomon Islands last night.

Over the weekend, six more US soldiers died in Iraq, and it was the third or fourth story, rating not more than a few seconds. And--I've looked three times but perhaps I missed it--the San Jose Mercury News said nothing about the deaths at all, either yesterday or today. There was, however, a long piece on The Sopranos (which perhaps could have been in the entertainment section?) and the profile of an immigrant family, all but one of whom are legal. Front page, above the fold.

In other front page news: Bush on the captured British sailors and the index (Sunday). What, you were expecting more? And today, in order of space given: Update in the works for hidden gem--Face lift for a waterfront park; Reused water draws scrutiny at play fountains; VTA bus service faces shake-up; U.S learns of Al-Qaida rebound with dismay; and Airline quality continues to drop. While I don't question the newsworthiness of any of these stories, I obviously question the placement they were given.

But I suppose it's a no-win for newsrooms: Prominently publish the numbers of dead and wounded and, while half of the people may be satisfied, the rest will assume that you are mocking the administration and disrespecting the dead. Silly me for thinking it more disrespectful to hold pets in higher regard than the people fighting and dying in Iraq.

1 comment:

Kathy Schrenk said...

The Mercury News has never been the New York Times, but I've observed some seriously gaffes in the past couple weeks on my blog. The paper was recently bought by MediaNews (it was sold after the Knight Ridder buyout), which also owns the Oakland Tribune, San Mateo County Times and their sister papers. It is undisputed that quality plummets as soon as the company buys a paper.