Our ‘Beat The Press Party’ Bakeoff (Navy Yard Shootings Edition)

The hardbaking staff has been AWOL the past few weeks – Matriculation and all that – but we’re back now, presumably to the dismay of one person and another.

So, let the Great Boston MediaWatch Dogfight re(jack)boot, and don’t spare the horse laughs.

Start, as usual with Underdog Press Party, the Boston Herald’s weekly Wayne’s World Webcast. This week’s rundown:

The Boston Herald “Press Party” web show focuses on press and political blunders committed during the wake the Washington D.C. Navy Yard shooting massacre, and Attorney General Martha Coakley’s debut as a gubernatorial candidate.

The panelists included retiring state Rep. Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk), who is resigning to take a job in the private sector and recounted some of his own biggest mistakes, like an April Fool’s Day YouTube video during his failed U.S. Senate run that critics panned as “not senatorial.”

Winslow also offers parting advice to the media and “Press Party” panel, saying journalists too often rely on generalizations and stereotypes when covering politicians. The web show’s “mediafail” segment focuses on a reporter misquoting the co-founder of Dropbox saying “anyone with nipples” instead of what he actually said – “anyone with a pulse.”

Okaaay . . .

Crosstown at Big Dog WGBH’s Beat the Press, the topics were very different: Feel Good Ads That Get Free Play (specifically Carl Sciortino’s TV spot in the MA 5th Democratic primary), the Glen James story about the Boston homeless man who returned $42,00o he found in a lost backpack, and the usual Rants ‘n’ Raves.

The one intersection of the two media hall monitors was the coverage of the D.C. Navy Yard shootings.

Press Party talked about how “the media botched the story and politicians rushed to judgment.”

The media did not cover itself in glory, according to the Pressniks, especially given that NBC and CBS identified the wrong person as the shooter. Beyond that, news media should never quote the police scanner or let social media pressure them to be first.

As if . . .

Over all, the Pressniks concluded, the coverage was “a poor excuse for journalism.” Moral of the story: don’t tweet before you vet. As if . . .

Meanwhile, the Beatniks at BTP proffered that the coverage “had numerous mistakes.”


Sample quotes:

I think they were trying.

It wasn’t egregious.

I’m not that outraged.

There’s gonna be mistakes.

Two different worlds, yeah?


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8 Responses to Our ‘Beat The Press Party’ Bakeoff (Navy Yard Shootings Edition)

  1. Bill says:

    I’ve been a BTP viewer for many years, and seems to me it has been getting very “soft” over the past year or so. Many of the segments are apologetic on behalf the press, with a “you have to understand why they did what they did” theme, or vague and general rather than focused on actual mis-doings, bad behavior, or just plain sloppy or biased work of various kinds by specific outlets and journalists. Plus, there are many segments which mostly explain the business side of the press as a reason for the preceding missteps. In short, BTP has become “explanatory” excuse-making rather than pointed self-criticism. It’s the old story, I think: you start to sympathize with those you are purportedly covering.

    • Oh, I dunno; in the music scene it’s common for your roommate to positively review your band’s sucky record in his sucky music mag.

      They you do the same for his in yours. What’s the difference?

      • Campaign Outsider says:

        The difference is Beat the Press should have the accent on beat.


    • Campaign Outsider says:

      That’s interesting, Bill. Maybe they need a skunk to show up at the garden party.


      • Curmudgeon says:

        Then it wouldn’t Emily’s party. That’s not going to happen.

        I thought when the brought on Calley Crossley full time and began to swing-in some younger voices, things would get better.

        Sadly, Calley can’t carry the show on her own, and the rest just seem to repeat the same thing that they said the preceding week.

        But it’s their program and they can do what they like with it.

        As for the Herald’s offering? Interrupts my listening to classical music on a station other than one owned by GBH. (Oh how we miss Robert J, Ron, and Richard Knisley.)

  2. Bill says:

    Maybe they should just change the name to a more congenial “Meet the Press”…oh, wait, that’s already taken…never mind.

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