RealClearPolitics Media Watch

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Rounding Up All The Likely Suspects

We'll finish up the week by updating some old news and musings that have appeared in the past on the Media Watch blotter...

To Catch a Thief

According to this story I am plucking from the The Huffington Post, writer Gerald Posner's plagiarism crime spree has bled into his latest book.

Posner, who packed up his copier last month and scurried from the The Daily Beast amid plagiarism allegations and convictions, now is admitting to lifting copy that appears under his name in the book, "Miami Babylon."

According to the story, Posner recently told the Associated Press that he is blaming his latest bout of stealing on a 'flawed research methodology.'

He is then quoted as saying:

"If you use something from another book, a statement from another book, it needs to be in quotations, or if you take something and put it in your own syntax and grammar, you still need to cite it."

Is it me or does Posner seem intent on just digging a deeper grave for himself? Basically, the guy is continuing to indicate that he allegedly knows the rules against stealing other people's copy and then calling it your own, but does it anyway.

According to the story, Posner also said, 'that he would revise the material in question and would check the rest of the book for possible problems.'

So the bank robber told the cops that he would give the stolen money back that they knew about, and check to see if there wasn't some more hot loot he might have stashed away somewhere.

Thanks, pal, we'll wait for your report. Have a good day.

Who says crime doesn't pay?

Tiger Woods' Return on Tape?

On Wednesday, Media Watch feigned surprise over Tiger Woods' announcement that he would be making his return to competitive golf at next month's Masters tournament.

It's hard to believe that Tiger didn't script his return for this venue because of the sanitized, locked-down atmosphere at the very private Augusta National Golf Club. Tiger and his entourage will be much better able to control the media and, er, 'patrons,' at this pristine Georgian outpost than anyplace else.

And there is another twist to this calculated decision. I found this story on the upstart National Sports Journalism Center site today.

Blogger Ed Sherman rightfully types that because of the limited TV coverage of the Masters, there is a very good possibility that Tiger's first shot -- in fact much of his first round -- will be on tape, not live.

Masters officials traditionally allow for far less live coverage of their tournament than any of the other three major tournaments. As a golf fan that has always killed me, but it's hard to fault them for the decision because the tournament always draws the highest golf ratings of the year by far.

With all the hoopla surrounding Tiger, some in-the-knows have speculated that the ratings for this year's Masters could surpass what networks gleaned for their coverage of President Obama's inauguration.

ESPN covers the first two rounds of the event before tossing it to CBS over the weekend, but its coverage of Thursday's opening round doesn't start until 4 p.m. EDT.

If Woods is given an early tee time Thursday, his first shot -- in fact, much of his first round -- will not air live.

Given these one-of-a-kind circumstances, it will be interesting to see if the normally inflexible Masters officials make an exception this year and grant ESPN a longer broadcasting window, or, at the very least, send Tiger off in one of the last groups of the day, so that viewers can see this bizarre bit of history in the making -- and not on tape.

Finally ...

We were a little hard on newspapers Tuesday for what we saw as just the latest short-sighted decision by too many leaders in the suffering industry. We slapped 'em for dumping parts, or all of their popular comics sections to save money.

In that rant we also dinged 'em a bit for blasting 24-hour-old world and national 'news' stories across their front page as if every single person in their circulation area hasn't seen or heard about it already thanks to the invention of TV and radio -- not to mention the Internet.

So today I came across this story at the home of Editor & Publisher.

It seems our neighbors across the northern border are still big fans of daily newspapers. According to findings in something called the 2009 NADbank readership study, nearly three-quarters of Canadian adults with access to a daily newspaper read that paper at least once a week. The study says only 4% read that same paper exclusively online.

I found no other study using the same variables to measure daily readership stateside, but can tip you to this gloomy report on newspaper readership in the States compiled by the Pew Project For Excellence In Journalism's, The State of News Media 2010 report.

So what is the most popular content among these ardent readers of print in Canada?
This from a release touting the report:

Local news is the most popular content read in daily newspapers - 73% of readers usually read these pages.

For the life of me, I'll never know why more dailies in the States don't adopt a more localized approach to news.

To those already doing that, I apologize.

To those that don't, I'll speculate that inflated egos among these papers' editorial leadership have something to do with it. And if that's not to blame, I suppose stupidity will have to do ...

Have a good weekend.

(Got a tip, a gripe, or some kudos? Send 'em along.)