Iran is the subject of this week’s nytimes.com Q&A, “Talk to the Newsroom” (so far, it’s just Bill Keller, recently back from Tehran). One Times reader is annoyed that “the Michael Jackson death … has completely kicked Iran out of the interest of the media/American people,” and asks, “Where did the judgment, the honor of journalism, to report the important issues which shape our world go? Shouldn’t Jackson be in the Life section of the paper? Or on page 2?” Keller rises to “the media’s” defense (sort of):

[W]hile Iran coverage in some media, notably television, has been crowded to the periphery by the death of Michael Jackson, the infidelity of Gov. Mark Sanford and, today, the sentencing of Bernie Madoff*, I think it’s worth celebrating the attention most American media have given to Iran’s upheaval. For more than a week, Iran put the “news” back in cable news and attracted the interest of many media outlets not routinely looked to for foreign non-celebrity news. (The Huffington Post, for one.)

*Not to mention the death of Billy Mays, whom a CNN anchor described in one of many Mays reports today as “a TV commercial icon,” the “king of the pitchman, you know the face and the booming voice from commercials for products like OrangeGlo and OxyClean.”


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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.