It’s no surprise when shock jocks display poor behavior. The problem starts when their antics infect the newsroom.
At the recent 101.5-incited Statehouse rally protesting the Gov’s EZ Pass to getting the State out of debt, we saw both extremes.
It’s fair game when commentators want to use their airtime to grumble about government. It’s probably even OK if they want to stage a protest rally with their rabid listeners as a Greek chorus.
The real question is: how should the station’s newsroom cover it? After all, it’s a self-promotional event designed to increase ratings and advertising revenues for the broadcast corporation.
You know the line is blurred – more like trampled — when a partisan legislative leader thanks the station’s news director during his turn at the podium paid for by 101.5, as one observer commented.
There’s even more static when Bob Ingle, Gannet’s Trenton Bureau Chief – as in news, not advertising – becomes part of the story by gushing about the rally for the station’s video camera. But then again, should we be surprised given Ingle’s 101.5 moonlighting gig on Friday afternoons during drive-time.
(On second thought, maybe that wasn’t really Ingle in the video, just a digitally inserted image. . .)
After this piggish display, are we supposed to believe the news staff at 101.5 and Gannett will present balanced reporting on the Governor’s debt restructuring plan?
There’s a clear difference between making news (if you want to call it that) and reporting the news.