The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Those media whores - again

If ever you see some hack or outlet getting a good kicking and find yourself sympathising, there ought to be a yellow card you could pull from your pocket to remind you of the reasons why your contempt for the industry and its practitioners is virtually boundless.

A possible entry is the way media outlets cover megabucks damages awards doled out by juries. The immediate reaction is the audience of a Donny Osmond concert circa 1974.

Usually, such juror onanism is eventually curbed by appeals courts. But J-prof Tom Goldstein says it:
Journalists, by and large, are not as good as they should be in keeping up with what happens after a large verdict — even though they know full well from experience that the verdict will most likely be cut dramatically.

As I've said umpteen times, journalistic product is in code. Media outlets don't tell the suckers that. And, because pieces use an everyday vocabulary, you don't get the clues that it's in code that you would reading the NEJM, say.

Editors know that megabucks damages award stories are grossly misleading, but they run them because they move product.

They all should be where Judith Miller is right now, if there were any justice. Which, of course, we know there isn't.

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