Darts & Laurels

2012's media highlights and lowlights

DART for grade inflation: Charles Jaco, KTVI, St. Louis, MO When you’re interviewing a senatorial candidate who says, as Todd Akin did in August, that women’s bodies “have ways to try to shut that whole thing down” and prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape,” you might want to deviate from your interview script and ask what that’s about. But Charles Jaco’s brain apparently shut that whole thing down, and he followed up with a question about the economy. Yet in hindsight, he thought his interview rated a “B+.” That must be some kind of bell curve.

LAUREL for good reporter’s instincts: James Carter IV Who knows how the presidential election might have gone if James Carter, grandson of Jimmy, hadn’t been curious about YouTube snippets of a Mitt Romney fundraiser in Boca Raton—the event at which the candidate dismissed Obama supporters as the “47 percent” of the nation who are “dependent upon the government, who believe that they are victims.” Playing a hunch, Carter and veteran reporter David Corn tracked down the source and the full video, which became a big scoop for Mother Jones.

DART for overly hasty identifications: ABC News Handy tip for ABC News: Make sure you’ve got the right guy! In a hastily assembled profile of James Holmes, accused of a July shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater that killed 12, ABC’s Brian Ross announced that he was a member of the Tea Party. Surely there’s only one James Holmes in Colorado, right? Oops. (And the Newtown, CT, shootings in December provided a horrific reminder about the need to doublecheck before going public with IDs.)

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The Editors are the staffers of Columbia Journalism Review.