Saturday, March 05, 2005

What Serves as News These Days on CNN

That Martha Stewart has been released from prison is news and so is a chimpanzee attacking a man. These are, like, major news items on CNN. Here is a snippet of the story on Marth Stewart (via daily Kos):

BLITZER: Back again now with more on Martha Stewart. Our guests, CNN's Mary Snow and Allan Chernoff. They're standing by live in Bedford, New York. That's outside the Stewart estate. And joining us from Manhattan, Dennis Kneale of "Forbes" magazine and Keith Naughton of "Newsweek" magazine there at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

Let me start with you, Keith. The statement she released on the web, her prison experience, she said, was life-altering and life- affirming. Is there any indication she's going to become an activist for women's rights in prison?

NAUGHTON: That's what a lot of prison reform advocates would like. You know, she put out that letter while she was still in prison, imploring America to consider these 1,200 women she's incarcerated with, and in fact, all women who are in prison and look at sentences and look at the need for rehabilitation. So there's the hope that she steps forward as a prison reform advocate. But that's a delicate balance, too. You know, you also need the ability to show that you're moving on and that there is a new, reformed Martha, as well. So if she becomes too much of a prison reform advocate, that could, you know, sort of stick her in the past.

BLITZER: Do you agree with that, Dennis? Dennis Kneale of "Forbes" magazine. That it's a two-edged sword, if she starts becoming an activist for women's rights in prison?

KNEALE: I really think there's a big downside there...

Silly me, I thought that it would be good if Martha started thinking more about other people, especially those whose lives haven't gone very well. But that seems to be a big downside to something. I wonder what it might be? Could it, could it possibly be the commercialization of Martha Stewart's prison escapade and the juiciness of chewing over her character faults?