Helping front office teams grow better

Media criticism: old and new - #384

I like reading what's well-written. If there's a recurring theme here, it's that the topic matters less than the quality of the writing. When I try to make a point with what I share, the links are always less fun for you.

That's what often leads us to media criticism. People write best about what they know best. And there's nothing journalists care about more than journalism. Breathless coverage of events usually takes a backseat to breathless coverage of the coverage.

The two pieces of media criticism I found most interesting this week are below. First, a profile of Rusty Foster, creator of Today in Tabs, shared by my brother. Much of our 2014-5 email correspondence was riffing on the original Tabs. The NYT profiler finds it ever-so-fascinating that Foster can write a witty few hundred words every day despite living in Maine (ding!) and no formal j-school training (ding! ding!). I find it fascinating that a fellow who lives in an inherited home on Peaks Island hasn't become a completely offline, wool-wearing fisherman, but who am I to judge. It's interesting just how niche a writer can be and still make a good living from their Substack. Maybe the internet isn't all bad after all.

Politico's Jack Shafer, media critic par excellence, had some fine coverage of the coverage of the now-fired Uri Berliner's tirade against his multi-decade employer NPR. But the best thing about his column was his link to his own 1993 hot read of NPR criticism. While the radio hosts have changed, we all remember the sultry tones of Bob Edwards and Linda Wertheimer, and oh does Shafer yell and shake his fist at them! This is back when there was no winking at the camera or insinuating you were above it all (a la Rusty's Tabs vehicle). Shafer comes right out and says it:

So remember: You’re paying Cokie Roberts $60,000 a year for her half-baked ranting about racism in America. You’re paying Daniel Schorr $95,000 a year to demonstrate Martian mathematics. You’re paying Linda Wertheimer $97,000 a year for anti-tax-evasion public service announcements. You’re paying Carl Kasell $90,000 a year, Robert Siegel $101,000 a year, and Bob Edwards $134,000 a year to imitate the bloodless drone of HAL the computer.

Maybe you think it’s a good deal. I’m sure my sister does.

He also did it in far more than a few hundred words. Enjoy the reading!


00RUSTY-FOSTER-01-tvlq-superJumboFrom a Tiny Island in Maine, He Serves Up Fresh Media Gossip

Rusty Foster could never live in New York. But his hit newsletter, Today in Tabs, is an enduring obsession of the city’s media class.



72571330007-d-media-mix-edwards-03How Do I Hate NPR? Let Me Count the Ways

But what moves my sister’s obsession with NPR from the mildly eccentric to the downright bizarre is that it’s her sole source of news.