Why Is the New York Times Fixated on the New Hillary Book?, TV's Bill O'Reilly Asks Prof. Jeff McCall '76
August 1, 2005
August 1, 2005, Greencastle, Ind. - [Download Video: "Prof. McCall on FOX" - 4227kb] "If the book is really trash, then I would think that maybe one review or two might be in order, and then I think they would want to maybe move on," Jeff McCall, professor of communication at DePauw University, told tonight's edition of O'Reilly Factor on cable television's FOX News network.
Dr. McCall discussed the New York Times' coverage of Edward Klein's book, The Truth About Hillary. The Times has run eight articles on the book, all of which -- according to host Bill O'Reilly -- have been negative toward the author. Klein's text paints an unflattering picture of the United States Senator and former first lady.
"There's an old saw in journalism that the function of journalism is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, told the program. "In this case, I think the Times is taking after Klein as the comfortable and trying to defend Hillary as the afflicted, and that she comes off as a martyr figure. And I really think that's unfortunate, because the Times has a very large role to play in setting the agenda for the nation, and a lot of people pay attention to what the Times is doing."
The professor continued, "I would say, if the book is a big deal, run with it. But the book sales have not been out of sight, the book's been out for a number of weeks... We need to look for the story behind the story. Is the story that the Klein book is so important or so damaging; or is the story that the Times wants to beat up on Klein because he has attacked or gone after a politican with whom the Times is generally favorable."
At the conclusion of the segment, which ran for more than six minutes, McCall pointed out, [Download Video: "On Fairness" - 1917kb] "Edward R. Murrow, the noted broadcast journalist, once said 'A lot of people think they are thinking when they're actually rearranging their prejudices.' And I think sometimes that's happening at the Times with a lot of the articles and opinions they're trying to run. But I would point out that Editor & Publisher, which is a trade magazine for journalists, recently reported that the New York Times' executive editor has issued a memo that calls for the paper to 'stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation to cover the full range of our national conversation. If they're gonna do that, I think that's a great idea," McCall stated.
McCall, a 1976 graduate of DePauw, last appeared on O'Reilly's program in May 2004 to discuss broadcast indecency. Read what he had to say, and access video clips, in this previous story.
Frequently quoted in articles on media matters, Jeff McCall recently appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and wrote an op-ed on the media's handling of the Natalee Holloway case.Back