Friday, October 16, 2009

Aiding and abetting

Q: Is there a worse offense than putting the "Balloon Boy" story at the top of the front page?
A: Yes. For example, one might reach into the bag of Great Cliches and come out with "Up, up and away" for the hed. But surely no editor would ... oh.

Speaking for the pitiful remnant that somehow managed to get through the day untransfixed by this ridiculous tale -- what were you guys thinking? The cable networks, fine, but a double byline (Colorado) and five staffers (New York, Washington, Chicago) contributing on the front of the Paper of Record? Could serious journalism possibly get worse?

For three hours on a workaday Thursday, a mesmerized and helpless America watched this shiny silvery disc spin slowly against a brilliant blue sky with puffy white clouds.

Oh, come on. I can't believe this got all the way through the Post's copy desk without violent horking noises signaling its likely impact on the pitiful, helpless giant that is the American news audience.

Surely it was clear by the time the fronts were drawn up last night how stupid this would look in the morning. Any reason not to listen then?


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