Monday, September 14, 2009

Should we create the "hate" beat? Opportunities knock

An Ad Age columnist has a little fun with a proposal to set up a new news beat, the "hate beat," but, frankly, it's not funny in any respect. First is the fact that the media should start looking seriously at "hate" in America, and whether media actions are encouraging (obviously) or facilitating (I think so) hate.

He suggests setting up a "hate sports" beat. Frankly, it already exists. Look at for examples of hating sportswriting and broadcasting. And all you have to do is turn on white talk radio or most of the evening cable hosts to see "hate politics" in action. Hate is a big topic these days, only no one will touch it. I wonder if the reason is fear? After all, Howard Kurtz reports today how Glen Beck drove a White House aide out the door without any media amplification (or revealing to his audience the aide's connection to a campaign that has cost Beck loads of sponsors). So the lesson is that if you lead a campaign against any of the hate talkers, they'll get you. Sounds like a beat to me.

Second is the argument that those wanting to succeed in media (listen up, students) should start creating their own beats. This is the era of the journalist entrepreneur. And, frankly, covering hate in America is a good place to start. The media had better come up with subjects to cover that people want to know about.

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