David Carr is bang on assigning a share of blame for the Wal-Mart Black Friday death under the feet of a shopping mob to news media. I will disagree in degree about business vs. editorial responsibility. He sees the creation of Black Friday – and that horrible coinage itself – as a cynical business conspiracy to pump advertising. I wouldn’t disagree except that I’m never a conspiracy theorist, especially inside newspapers, which only conspire against themselves. I think there is also an editorial responsibility – importantly in local TV news, too – to do the same damned story everybody else is doing and everybody else did last year. Black Friday walk-up stories are in no way whatsoever informative; they are not news. They fill time and space. We thought they were just pap. But as Carr points out, their unthinking inanity can also be dangerous.
by Jeff Jarvis