Thursday, January 10, 2008

Criticism of Today Show and Richard Cohen's Book

Media Bistro has pointed out that the Poynter Institute has come out swinging against the way the popular Today Show did a series on people fighting chronic illness. The problem? The book was by Richard Cohen who is also the husband of Meredith Viera, co-host of Today. That's the source of the controversy. Here's what Media Bistro Reported:

With the conclusion of Today's three-part segment on chronic illness, the AP's David Bauder reports that a Poynter Institute expert is questioning the ethics of the series, inspired by a new book by Richard Cohen, Meredith Vieira's husband.

Cohen, who has Multiple Sclerosis, has written Strong at the Broken Places, about people living with illness. Vieira, who stated on-air that Cohen is her husband, interviewed him Wednesday in-studio, along with some of the book's subjects.

The Poynter Institute's Bob Steele tells Bauer that Today could have given the story to Matt Lauer or Ann Curry. Bauer writes that "there's also the issue of providing Cohen with three days of publicity on the top-rated morning news show..."

Today Executive Producer Jim Bell tells Bauer, "In a way I think it would have drawn more attention to it if (Vieira) did not do (the story)."

Bell also says Cohen's book addresses important subject matter, of interest to viewers. "If the guy was writing a book on a topic we didn't care about, or if he wasn't an accomplished author or if it wasn't getting attention at other places, I think it would be an issue. But I don't think that was the case here."

I think this is ridiculous. The story was about people who courageously live with chronic illness. That is something Meredith Vieria does daily. She's a very solid interviewer and all the better because, in this case, she was also a very empathetic one. Instead of criticizing the fine work done by the Today Show in this case, we should be commending them by providing a quality story on an important subject rather than bringing us another Lindsay Lohan disaster headline.
Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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Anonymous Randy Schell said...

I'm with you. They certainly are better battles out there.

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares if Meridith Veira is married to Richard Cohen. To me it makes the story even more interesting and who knows better than Veira what dealing with a chronic illness is like than the spouse of the person going thru MS or any other disease.

They have to live with it in a different way, but on a daily basis as well. Mr. Cohen has been on several shows discussing his book with and without Veira.

It is a very important subject because everyone has someone in their family that deals with some form of chronic illness. Whether it is an Aunt, Uncle, Niece, Nephew, Sister, Brother, Grandparent, Parent, etc.

If they don't they likely know someone else who has dealt with chronic illness. Cohen shines a important light on what people do and can do to get through their lives with a chronic illness. He also helps others gain knowledge of what they go through.

Doctors, the media and the general
public need his insight vs. just treating it best they know from a textbook, clinicals, etc. or just knowing some people have chronic illness.

Plus our country needs to put more help, insurance assistance, and work resources in place to assist these people who battle illness every single day.

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Robin said...

I agree. With ALL THE CRAP, why pick on this? I have friends with MS, it is really challenging

5:03 PM  

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