Kvetch of the Week: Obama’s media hucksters

There are times when I’m reading a juicy media kvetch that I don’t may much attention to the byline until I’ve reached the end. Who wrote that?

That was the case today as I came across a piece in Editor & Publisher slamming media organizations for making more than a few bucks off the historic election of Barack Obama. For a moment I hesitated to use this piece because it was written by a former colleague at my paper (we worked in different departments and rarely crossed paths. He covered the military and defense issues, I was a sportswriter. He took a buyout last year; I followed suit three months ago.). But the über-kvetchiness off Ron Martz’ diatribe is too good to be passed up here, earning it the latest Kvetch of the Week honors. A few excerpts:

“Ombudsmen and reader advocates who are supposed to examine individual media organizations rarely do an adequate job because more often than not they are employed by the very companies whose dealings they are supposed to scrutinize. Who is going to take a chance on making the boss angry and being relegated to a dead-end job, or being jobless, at a time when so many journalists are out of work?”

And this:

“It is one thing for private entrepreneurs to get into the business of making a buck off Obama. More power to them. But the media, who have set standards for others, now refuse to live by their own standards.”

Go read the whole thing. My take: I’m not entirely surprised that the press has gone ga-ga over all this, since I’ve lived through plenty of “big” memories in my experience (Braves win World Series, 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Sept. 11th) that my paper and other news outlets jumped on like a dog on a bone. For quite a while we’ve been guilty of going overboard promoting merchandise stemming from a major news event. However, I was taken aback at how expensive some of these trinkets are. Then again, I’m not spending my money on stuff like this given the economy and my status as a newspaper refugee.

Gripes about the coverage of the presidential campaign by The New York Times I found a bit over the top. They took away from detailed descriptions of the media’s milking of the Obama election (and what the L.A. Times has pocketed, for example) that are quite revealing on their own.

But there would have been one less really good kvetch in a piece oozing with them.


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