HOH’s One-Minute Recess: Easily Distracted

Posted March 12, 2010 at 10:57am

Some media critics have blasted the wall-to-wall news coverage of ex-Rep. Eric Massa’s fall from grace, arguing too much attention has been paid to the tickle-loving New York Democrat when serious things are happening in the world. But one leading D.C. journalist argued on Thursday that it’s easy to see why — like the dog from the movie “Up,” news consumers (and journalists) sometimes just want to chase after the fun squirrel.

[IMGCAP(1)]ABC News political analyst Cokie Roberts moderated a panel discussion at the National Archives on Thursday night on women in journalism, featuring insight from PBS’ Gwen Ifill, NPR’s Diane Rehm and Katharine Weymouth, CEO of Washington Post Media.

While most of the talk focused on women’s roles (or lack thereof) in newsrooms, the panelists also touched on news coverage in general. The foursome spent some time talking about why less attention seems to be paid to serious stories — such as the recent massacre in Nigeria — compared to coverage of the Massa scandal.

And Ifill, moderator and managing editor of the PBS program “Washington Week,” said most people are like Dug the talking dog from the digitally animated movie “Up”: We try to stay focused on serious matters at hand, but when something fun comes along to distract us — squirrel! — we can’t help but take a look.

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