Saturday, March 17, 2007

Would we have written she's a troll?

I thought we were beyond this. But in this day and age of Hilton, Spears, et al., why does it not surprise me that some major news organizations resorted to leading off their stories about Valerie Plame with these kinds of descriptions:

AP (Julie Hirshfeld Davis): Valerie plame lent a glamorous face and a personal story to Democrats' criticism of the Bush administration Friday ...

NPR (David Welna): Platinum blond and glamorous as a movie idol, Valerie Plame Wilson set off a storm of clicking camera shutters when she strode into the hearing room this morning. (nat sound of cameras) And then this woman who's kept a mysterious silence since having her identity revealed nearly four years ago finally spoke. ...

Someone please explain to me what those phrases lend to each story -- and certainly how they frame each story by being in the lede? Would we have written it if she were ordinary or even homely? Or if she were a he? NPR's case is especially egregious. Just start with her name. Oh, and someone remind Welna about "volition" -- she didn't have her identity revealed -- it was revealed -- in other words write since her identity was revealed ...

Was there a copy editor in the house?

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At 3/18/07, 3:36 PM, Blogger fev said...

Would we have written she's a troll? Nah. Unless she was a Republican troll (Linda Tripp comes to mind).

I'm afraid the don't-write-about-appearances thing is in the same category as not letting an off-the-record cop convict a perp. Everybody "knows" the rule, right up to the first time it's just too tempting to break it.


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