The “boys of summer” usually refers to America’s favorite pastime, when baseball players divert our attention with sensational plays, home runs or tantrums during the hot steamy long days of our favorite season.
However, I would like to draw your attention to a different group that could be anointed the “boys of summer” — the producers at CNN and Fox, the management at NBC and this week, Anderson Cooper joins this crowd.
What do they have in common? They all became their own news instead of reporting it – producing both good and bad results.
On the not-so-good side —
CNN and Fox couldn’t wait to announce last Thursday’s landmark Supreme Court decision upholding the country’s health care – except they both got it wrong. To borrow from the June 28th New York Times article from Brian Stelter (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/us/cnn-and-foxs-supreme-court-mistake), “The national news media mostly got it right on Thursday in reporting the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Obama’s health care overhaul. News organizations had been preparing for days for the announcement, which had not been leaked. Editors and producers at several organizations said they would emphasize accuracy over speed in any coverage of the decision, lest they risk being wrong. But human error crept into the coverage anyway, as producers and reporters read from the text of the decision before digesting it in full.
“CNN regrets that it did not wait to report out the full and complete opinion regarding the mandate,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “We made a correction within a few minutes and apologize for the error.”
Fox News did not issue an apology. In a statement, Michael Clemente, a Fox executive, said flatly, “Fox reported the facts as they came in.”
Then there was NBC’s botched departure of Ann Curry. I couldn’t agree more with David Hinckley of the New York Daily News: http://articles.nydailynews.com/2012-06-29/news/32475672_1_capus-savannah-guthrie-ann-curry, (“For a solid week, from the moment The Times released a story detailing just what NBC had in mind -including her expected replacement by ‘Today’ third-hour host Savannah Guthrie – Curry had to go on the air every day and smile. Knowing that all her bosses, all her colleagues, almost all the media and millions of her viewers realized her employer didn’t want her there anymore. Slow-motion dismissal may be an okay management tactic if you suspect an unpaid intern is smoking weed on lunch break. For someone who has been with the company 22 years, and whom NBC seems to genuinely value, it’s unfathomable.”
Last up at bat?
CNN’s own Anderson Cooper, who finally admitted he is gay, not a surprise to many. Brian Stelter took a look at this announcement in the New York Times,
“For one of America’s best-known television news anchors to be identified as gay was, until very recently, seen as a potential career-killer. But then, on Monday, it happened. And the TV nation seemed to shrug.”
The story is remarkable for how unremarkable it is. Cooper was out of the country and not taking interviews or inquiries. Coverage of the news has been, for the most part, positive.
We know more boys of summer will appear, though maybe not this week, as even the Presidential candidates are taking the week off from sparring.
There is always someone waiting in the batter’s box.