Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Random Stuff: Absorbency & Accountability

My man, Steve Czaban, offers this thoughtful critique of contemporary American advertising:
I don't know what kind of man-hating channel I stumbled on to see this commercial, but I swear it exists. Guy and girl are on a "romantic" little rowboat ride on a lake. Rowboat springs a leak in the hull. Guy panics. While guy isn't looking, girl whips out tampon (yes, TAMPON!) and stuffs into hole, stopping the leak. Sweet music plays. What the f***? I mean, really what the f*** is that?
I've seen this commercial. My reaction wasn't quite as virulent, though I did wonder about the meeting where the ad agency pitched this idea. It makes me long for the classic tampon ads where mother and daughter would discuss "freshness".

On a less uncomfortable note, Czaban also calls out the Washington Post for being asleep at the switch on Steve Spurrier's resignation from the Redskins:
In and around town, many people were very skeptical about Steve Spurrier's return, except for one person. The paper's Redskins BEAT WRITER Mark Maske. Maske kept writing, and insisting on local TV shows, that he believed Spurrier would be back. Ooops. Now, speculation has always been, that Maske is the Redskins' "house man" at the Post, and will write basically press releases based on what Dan Snyder wants in the paper. I don't know this for a fact but I know one thing: if you are considered a "great journalistic newspaper" and the beat man for the only team in town that matters is the only guy who gets whipsawed by Spurrier leaving, does that embarrass anybody? I mean, if you were an editor at the Post, and wanted your man to "get the story" then how would you react after the guy who's been with the team for the last three years ends up entirely wrong about the biggest story of the year?
Like Czaban, I won't delve into whether the Post is Dan Snyder's towelboy. But Czabe's right on the merits. Maske mishandled the biggest story on his beat this year, and his editor almost certainly won't hold him accountable. You can say, hey, it's just sports. But it's still part of the news operation. Suppose the Post's Supreme Court beat writer reported the Court was about to rule one way on a case, and it turns out exactly the opposite. This should be a major embarassment for the Post. Still, I doubt the reporter would be punished. Professional journalism doesn't emphasize internal accountability. This is why nobody should be surprised when the New York Times continues to run amok.

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