Will there end up being more written and said about the media's handling of the John Mark Karr story than the bizarre incident itself? Not likely when you take into account the obscene number of stories we saw on it over the past couple weeks (more on that below). Still, just about everyone will likely end up weighing in on the media's behavior and it's sure to be an exercise in extreme self-flagellation. One of the best places to keep up with it, of course, will be Romenesko, where you'll find a fine roundup of critiques. But you really don't need to look further than Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz who set the tone right out of the box this morning in his online "Media Notes" column:
This was such a sham, from the opening moments, that it instantly goes down with the greatest media embarrassments in modern history.That pretty much seems to be the consensus among most media critics and probably among most journalists. Nobody is coming out of this frenzy with a good taste in their mouths but leave it to Editor & Publisher to put the exclamation point on just how frenzied it became:
A Google search for "John Mark Karr," who was unknown until this month, came up with 10,800,000 results at the time of the latest twist. "John Mark Karr" with "Ramsey" added produced 6.7 million returns.Sure, that represents a lot of repetitions. Still, all you can say is, wow.