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Jon & Kate Plus Don Hewitt Equals News?

This morning, Jeff Jarvis passed along Peter Daou‘s tweet “CBS Early Show Prioritizes Jon & Kate Over Don Hewitt’s Death,” which linked this Consider This News video, itself prefaced “This speaks volumes about the state of TV news”

My tweeted retort: “Old man dying yesterday not news?”

Steven Taylor has some more detailed thoughts, notably that morning news shows have never been the height of journalism and that TV news as infotainment is something that Hewitt himself ushered in with “60 Minutes.” Quite so.

But my half-baked reply, constrained with the 140 character limits of the medium while re-tweeting the original, is also worth exploring a bit further.

Don Hewitt was a giant in the industry and his death is both notable and as good a time as any to reflect back on his accomplishments.  Which, one presumes, CBS went on to do later in the show.

But his passing did not constitute news by this morning.   I knew about it rather early yesterday morning. Josh Marshall posted about it at 11:33, I got a CNN email alert at 11:41, and I’m rather sure I saw it before that via Twitter.  Anyone who watches television news before the crack of dawn, then, likely already knew of Hewitt’s passing.

Further, Hewitt was 86 years old and had pancreatic cancer.  His passing was hardly the shock of, say, Michael Jackson dropping dead at 50.

As to Jon and Kate and their sordid mess, I couldn’t care less.  But I’m not the target audience for the CBS Early Show, either.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

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