July 13, 2010

Give That Man a Medal!

Former US president Bill Clinton (L), wh

Thony Belizaire/AFP/Getty Images

I rather like the awkward, deer in the headlights gaze that the Haitian President shares with us.  If anything, it lends an official sense of dissonance to the action in the foreground as the CNN franchise, Anderson Cooper, greets Bill Clinton after winning a medal from the Haitian government, as part of a group of recipients, for his coverage of the earthquake.

Anderson considered not accepting it, but then changed his mind, accepting it on behalf of the larger media.  Hmm, I wonder if Karzai, not to be outdone, will now award medals to the U.S. media for bothering to stick things out in Afghanistan, or the Mayor of New Orleans might consider giving out medals to those reporters who braved his city to cover Katrina.  I mean, not like it isn’t the media’s job to be there in the first place, right?

On the other hand, however, if the bling is for brand building, for excellence in disaster journalism, for enabling triage activity by reporter-doctors while simultaneously keeping the cameras rolling to score “more-dramatic-than-news” reality television, and for consistently sensationalizing the victimization of the Haitians, then by all mean — in spite of the dour expressions on all the darker faces — he deserves a handshake (and still one more opportunity for news making as distinct from reporting).

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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