Stu Blog

Here’s a quick handy news coverage tool for journalists on the run.

Should you include a specific angle in your news coverage? Ask yourself these questions first before writing a story.

1) Does the angle I’m presenting have anything to do with the story I’m writing about?

2) If yes, does it matter?

Shockingly, if the answer to 1 is not yes, there’s no need to debate number 2.

Let’s test it.

Story: Arizona shooting
Angle: Sarah Palin’s responsibility

1) No, there is no evidence whatsoever that this shooter was a fan of Sarah Palin in any way.
2) No need to ask number two.

Now, let’s see how the media actually handled the story.

Story: Arizona shooting
Angle: Sarah Palin’s responsibility

1) There is no evidence whatsoever that this shooter was a fan of Sarah Palin in any way.  But, we  think that someone like the shooter could, eventually, someday, be influenced by someone like Sarah Palin at some point, to do something sort of terrible to someone sort of like someone
involved in this story.
2) Of course it matters! It’s Sarah Palin’s fault!

Because of how incredibly incompetent the media has been on the first question, we’ve spent much of our time proving that there was no tie at all.  But since the media basically skipped question number one, let’s talk question two anyway, because it’s the more important question by far.

The truth is, if this shooter HAD been a fan of Sarah Palin, it still would not have been Sarah Palin’s fault (unless Sarah Palin specifically was telling this idiot to kill people, which she would never do.) Giving your opinion on a public debate does not open you up to murder charges.

For example, the Discovery Channel gunman said specifically that he was acting on Al Gore’s teachings.  That doesn’t make Al Gore responsible, even partially.  Gore uses the most extreme rhetoric imaginable when he speaks about global warming.  Essentially, he says that if we don’t act, the entire human race will be eliminated.  He insinuates that his opponents know this is true and ignore it so they can personally benefit.  Think of that charge.  “They know millions will die, but they lie about it so they can selfishly have a nicer boat.” Is there a more extreme charge? Is there rhetoric that is more dire?

Still, you simply cannot blame him for inspiring the Discovery shooter.  He is 100 percent innocent.  I can’t stand Al Gore’s opinions or how he presents them, yet, I’m enough of a man to admit that he can’t be held responsible for one person of 300,000,000 in this country misinterpreting what he says and turning it into violence.

I simply don’t want to win the debate badly enough to stoop that low.

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