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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Hack Reporting at its Best

Beating this story to death like Greta Van Susteren when an attractive white woman goes missing, here's one more post regarding the whole Onepeat thing that will just make you shake your head.

On the Onepeat.com site is a link to an interview the founder of site, "Steve," did with Baton Rouge TV station, WBRZ, an ABC affiliate. I tuned in to get some more information about who the person behind this site really was. To try to get a sense of his motivation for the post I wrote above. But, watching the video of the "news segment" online, the anchor starts off by saying something like, "We're excited about this next guest. On the phone with us is 'Steve' from Dallas, the founder of Onepeat.com."

And then "Steve" goes on to spout the same stuff I covered in my post above. My problem from a news standpoint is -- this wasn't a talk show, it was the station's NEWScast. As such, even for a fluff piece like this, one might expect, at the bare minimum, oh, some actual reporting. Like, you know, the guy's full name. Nope, just "Steve." Who the hell is the news director at WBRZ? "Says his name is 'Steve' on his website, so it must be true."

How embarrassing from a journalistic standpoint. The guy's not fucking Deep Throat, he's some clown trying to put up a billboard for chrissake. Apparently, "revealing" such basic information in a "news" story - like the full name of the man you're interviewing (which could lead to motivation or what school he attended) - might threaten national security in the eyes of the crack investigative team at WBRZ. But they protected "Steve's" identity like he was in the Witness Protection Program and there was a hit out on him by the Gambino family.

Hey, I wasn't expecting a 60 Minutes expose, just Beginning Journalism 101. Yet credit the anchor for digging into the story later in the interview when he asked something like, "So, Steve, I take it you're a Tigers fan?"

Oh, brother. Hey, well done, Murrow R. Murrow.

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