Monday, March 27, 2006

Bad journalism

Both local papers had below-par efforts in high-profile spots on Friday. For the Herald-Times, it was no surprise, and yesterday's editorial page confirmed why I don't like the "quick views" section on Fridays. The H-T said "to cite dangers of avian flu as a reason (for banning chickens in city limits) when avian flu is not a real threat sounds like these officials are a bunch of chickens themselves."

What a laughable statement. Avian flu is a very real threat, and there is a lot of discussion about the possibility of a flu pandemic if the virus evolves to the point where human beings can catch it from each other. The interconnected nature of our world makes rapid spread of a new strain of flu very likely. In addition, chickens can get avian flu - see articles in and the New York Times.

As I have said many, many times before, the main problem with the "quick views" editorial is it leaves no room for argumentation to back up a claim. If the H-T has a solid argument as to why "avian flu is not a real threat", they would be much better off expanding on that point in a longer editorial, because this just makes them look silly.

Over at Ernie Pyle Hall, the Indiana Daily Student makes a big deal about the fact that eight people (yes, eight people) protested Congressman Sodrel's office. This massive protest got equal billing in an article about a fundraiser for Congressman Mike Sodrel that featured President George W Bush.

Yes, I understand that political activism is news and that it is tradition at the IDS to cover rallies, protests, and the like. I am not saying the rally should not have been covered. However, for a protest by eight people to get equal billing with a visit by the President of the United States shows the student paper has a poor grasp of priorities.