The tendency of old(er) media to lash out at new(er) media apparently involves passing the buck on the worst of old(er) media’s excesses. Happy to push the canard that bloggers and Twitterers are merely unrestrained and unsubstantiated gossipers, CNN has either not been reading its own headlines or has an uncanny ability to swallow irony.
Some observers say Twitter — a micro-blogging site where users post 140-character messages — has become a hotbed of unnecessary hype and misinformation about the outbreak, which is thought to have claimed more than 100 lives in Mexico.
“Swine flu” is currently first on CNN’s list of “hot topics.” This is fair enough, because it’s a major topic and a cause for concern, and therefore worthy of media attention. But CNN takes it decidedly over the top. Perhaps following the Time magazine model of cool and rational stories on potential nuclear annihilation, the CNN page devoted to the entirely necessary and carefully measured information about swine flu includes sober headlines like the following:
- Mexico City at epicenter of growing swine flu fears
- Stricken teen describes illness, recovery
- Pandemic: What would happen next?
- Gupta: Swine flu affecting people in prime
- Deadliest pandemics of the 20th century
- Officials plan for worst case
Naturally, and without a trace of irony, CNN urges you to follow Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Twitter.
UPDATE: CNN also tweets — what medium could be better? — as breaking news that “The federal government declares a public health emergency, as the number of cases of swine flu in the U.S. rises to 20.”
cross-posted on Boondoggle
(image from flickr user merfam under a Creative Commons license)