Strobe-light journalism

Elizabeth Edwards, whose husband John Edwards was a contender in the U.S. Democratic primaries for the presidential election, assesses the state of American journalism and finds it wanting.

But much more interesting than Edwards’s critical conclusions — which have been reached by many others, and almost universally ignored by the public — is that on Sunday afternoon Edwards’s opinion piece ranked as the second-most emailed in the New York Times. Could there be hope that people will pay attention to the dire state of journalism, and why it matters?
An excerpt from “Bowling 1, Health Care 0” in the New York Times:
“… The vigorous press that was deemed an essential part of democracy at our country’s inception is now consigned to smaller venues, to the Internet and, in the mainstream media, to occasional articles. I am not suggesting that every journalist for a mainstream media outlet is neglecting his or her duties to the public. And I know that serious newspapers and magazines run analytical articles, and public television broadcasts longer, more probing segments.

“But I am saying that every analysis that is shortened, every corner that is cut, moves us further away from the truth until what is left is the Cliffs Notes of the news, or what I call strobe-light journalism, in which the outlines are accurate enough but we cannot really see the whole picture.”

(Unfortunately Edwards is one of the many (all???) Americans suffering from an insufferably arrogant and bizarre delusion. “We are choosing a president, the next leader of the free world,” writes Edwards. Please, Ms Edwards: who appointed the U.S. president as the “free” world’s leader? And, considering America’s recent transgressions against freedoms — from freedom from privation among its own poor, to freedom from torture among those it considers its enemies —  how can any American so use the word “free” with a straight face?)