Idol Worship

The Palm Beach Post disgraced itself today. Check out the front page. Dwarfing excellent articles by Tony Doris (Liberti pleads guilty) and S.V. Date (about GOP and insurance companies -- and sorry, S.V., I don't know how to put the accent on that e), the newspaper ran a larger than life pic of Taylor Hicks under the horrid headline: "Meet Your New American Idol."

Under the picture, the paper plugs Leslie Gray Streeter's blog, which had an unfortunate post wherein Streeter commented inreal time. Then came an "aftermath" post during which Streeter managed to write in a factual error that inflates the Idol phenomenon. She said the 63 million votes were "more than for any presidential election." It's actually more than have been cast for any winning candidate.

The Herald did better, confining the Idol story to the left column on the front page, above the fold. Sentinel, which is known for throwing gratuitous hype on already over-hyped TV shows, played it right, with a box well under the fold.

The Sentinel, however, must be called out for not covering the death of former editor Diann Slattery. From what I've heard, it seems clear that the newspaper dealt fairly with Slattery when she worked for them. Yet the paper published only a paid obit for the editor who worked 12 years and went on to manage Miami Today. Even the Herald, where she never worked, published a staff-written obit to mark the journalist's death.

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