Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She read the apology.

As Diane Sawyer takes over for Charlie Gibson at ABC, arguably the best remaining network news operation, tobacco comes to mind. (Jake Tapper and Brian Ross, for example, are aces at that network.)

I felt the need to mention that it was Diane Sawyer who agreed to read ABC News' infamous apology to Philip Morris in the 1990s for the tobacco story the network aired and resulted in a huge legal settlement -- and also likely opened the door powerful tobacco regulation today.

Some have argued that ABC apologized for something it didn't do -- all in the run-up to Disney's acquisition of the venerable network. Click here for an excellent, balanced overview of this story. As it shows, the facts around the story are controversial.

That a journalist's primary commodity is integrity, to read an apology for something not done, would be, therefore, to call into question that primary commodity.

For what it is worth, Bogdanich, a gem of a human being, is now at The New York Times and has won three pulitzers, including for this powerful series. He may be America's greatest investigative reporter today. He was not fired for the story -- in fact, ABC increased his salary and issued a press release after the settlement. He also worked at 60 minutes on tobacco.

It is ABC's decision to hire the hard-working, talented Sawyer for this position, but it deserves to be remembered that she read the apology on the air in deciding whether to watch her or not.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

48 hours piece on adoption

This week, the CBS News documentary series, 48 hours, did a powerful piece on a series of Samoan adoptions that likely involved fraud.

I comment on it because many of the principals in this alleged scam were evidently Mormon. One wore a BYU hat in a photo. He was clearly portrayed as a villain in the piece. Yet, no where was the Mormon connection made very explicit. As such, I give credit to CBS News. The news network had the chance to tie into much of the worst of Mormon stereotype involving race and supposedly deceptive practices and refused to do so.

Like any good Mormon, I am appalled by what has happened here and the religion of these people had nothing material to do with what happened.

Alas, I also recommend to viewers that they read the documentary to go online and read the deeply personal criticism of CBS by the adoptive families in the comments log that follows the piece.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wow ....

Blatant disrespect for divergent beliefs among those various denominations calling themselves Mormon was evident in the U.K. this week in its newspaper, The People.

A news brief reporting on a change in immigration law said the following:

"Muslim and Mormon immigrants are to be barred from bringing their HAREMS into Britain."

No where did the article say anything about LDS beliefs having outlawed polygamy or that polygamous "Mormons" represent a tiny minority. If anything, this shows that the old connection between Mormons and Muslims, has not died in international reporting and is another evidence that the international press is far harder on Mormons than the American press.