2005-01-24

Amerikanische TV-News = Bad News

--- TV-Versagen hoch drei: Der Ex-CBS-Auslandsreporter Tom Fenton rechnet in seinem Ende M�rz erscheinenden Buch Bad News (dramatischer Untertitel: How the Failing News Industry Is Endangering Americans) mit den US-Fernsehnachrichten ab, schreibt die Washington Post: In late 1996, veteran CBS foreign correspondent Tom Fenton pitched his network on a plan to use Saudi connections to land an interview with Osama bin Laden. "Our bosses saw him as an obscure Arab of no interest to our viewers," Fenton says. "More concerned with saving dollars than pursuing the story, they killed the project." Months later, Fenton says, he sat down with an Arab journalist who had interviewed bin Laden and described his violent designs on America, but "our navel-gazing executives" left that part of the piece "on the cutting-room floor." He says CBS executives asked that all references to bin Laden be cut because the story had "too many foreign names." ... Fenton, who retired last month, uses tales like these to castigate network news for failing to adequately cover the rest of the world. It is a stinging indictment that gains force from his quarter-century of service in CBS's London bureau. Fenton blames "corporate greed" for the decline, saying he was "beaten down by the corporate bean counters" and had "so many of my stories rejected" in the decade before 9/11. CBS's London bureau, he writes, "doesn't do much reporting any more. What it does is called packaging," assembling video and facts gathered by outside organizations. Likening the practice to Dan Rather's use of what Fenton calls "phony" memos in the discredited story on President Bush's National Guard service, Fenton says the networks "take it on trust. Don't shoot it, don't report it -- just wrap it up and slap the CBS eye on it." ... The book argues that media inattention contributed to America's isolation and false sense of security: "Foreign correspondents like myself came to be regarded as alarmists, waving our arms from remote places like Rwanda or Yugoslavia, trying in vain to attract attention." Nicht einmal bad news sind good news im US-TV.