Frank Rich takes TV journalism to task for fumbling its coverage of the Times Square bombing attempt. It seems the Big Media bigwigs were too busy at the White House Correspondents Dinner… so the media stars were covering their own schmoozefest, rather than real news.
That MSNBC couldn’t be bothered to interrupt its two-hour coverage of
these festivities to report on the attempted bombing was particularly
embarrassing, given that the network’s headquarters are just blocks from
Times Square. If NBC journalists in the Washington Hilton ballroom were
too busy gawking at Justin Bieber to pounce on the bulletins moving
through the BlackBerry-and-Twittersphere, you’d think someone back in
New York would.
Apparently little short of King Kong climbing up
30 Rock could have grabbed the network’s attention. When MSNBC did take a
brief break from the dinner for news updates at 9:30, Times Square
didn’t make the cut. Whether this was due to ignorance, ineptitude or an
unwillingness to play party pooper is a distinction without a
difference. Real-time coverage of Leno bombing (since when is that
news?) mattered more than any actual bombs. Only as the dinner wound
down, at 10:54, did MSNBC at last muster a “breaking news” bulletin
about the Times Square story that had in fact been breaking for hours.
Even then, we were told that NBC News couldn’t independently confirm the
facts MSNBC was recycling from Reuters.–Frank Rich, NYTimes