A Reddit contributor found an interesting example of formula magazine coverage. These are two different magazine covers published two years apart. Civil libertarians see the same phenomenon in coverage of the surveillance scandals and the attack on the free press.
Not exactly the stuff of Edward R. Murrow . . . unless of course he wanted to achieve a bikini body through sexercise.
The same formula coverage often seems to come up in the media coverage of the civil liberties crisis. The media has become an echo chamber for common themes and language. At the insistence of the Bush Administration, torture in the form of water boarding was called “enhanced interrogation” — an entirely made up term to avoid the “T” word. Recently, NPR and other news organizations yielded to demands to avoid calling Snowden a “whistleblower” as opposed to the Administration’s preferred description of a “leaker.” The media has also repeated the statement that the two surveillance programs were “lawful” — a position challenged by many civil libertarians. It is instead referred to as “controversial” while noting that there is nothing illegal in the data gathering. This is again coming directly out of the White House.
Of course, there are some in the media who are exceptions but they are rare exceptions. Much of the coverage has the depth of a “Flat Belly diet” with reporters referring to the FISA court as a real court with meaningful review despite a history of virtually never refusing an application for surveillance. It may not have a lot of content but it makes you feel ten years freer.