The media are as much at fault for government gridlock as politicians, outgoing Sen. Warren B. Rudman (R-N.H.) told an audience of about 250 at the Barone Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.
Rudman, who did not seek reelection to the Senate this year, said newspapers and television focus too much on entertainment and are "sadly lacking in comprehensiveness and balance" in reporting significant issues.
Rudman said that media had subordinated accurate reporting on national issues to "playing a game of gotcha."
While Rudman criticized the media in general, he singled out television for the brunt of his criticism. Rudman said networks place too much emphasis on the entertainment value of the stories they report.
Only issues with "energy, motion, props, scenery and seemingly endless controversy make news," Rudman said.
This preoccupation with entertainment leads networks to leave important issues such as the federal deficit uncovered, Rudman said.
Earlier this year, Rudman and former Massachusetts Sen. Paul E. Tsongas founded the Concord Coalition, an organization devoted to deficit reduction.
Rudman directly challenged the media to present economic issues in a way that will make them interesting to the average American.
"It is your responsibility to use creativity to explain the important issues--such as the deficit--no matter how boring your producer may say it to be," Rudman said.
Rudman said media coverage of the deficit was one issue that the Concord Coalition will address.
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