CBS blog criticizes stations' coverage of Tigger incident

Thursday, January 11, 2007

CBS program The Early Show ran a segment Monday about the Tigger incident at Florida theme park Walt Disney World, which a company blog later criticized.

CBS runs a regularly updated feed on its website, entitled "The Public Eye". It was created by the television station to "bring transparency to the editorial operations" of that department. It went one step further, recently, when criticising their program's actions.

The post knocked co-anchor Hannah Strom, who "did not challenge the family's characterization of the incident." Writer Brian Montopoli commented that "we'd like to think that we would have brought somewhat more skepticism to the table".

We can sort of understand why the "Early Show" had the Monacos on – video footage like this is hard to resist, and the folks at the "Early Show" have a couple hours to fill in the morning...

To her credit, Storm did ask, at the end of the interview, what the family was hoping to get from Disney. And while the Monaco's lawyer said only that they want an apology, it's safe to assume that the family is open to compensation. As for the interview, it took place because both sides got something out of it – the "Early Show" was able to run some moderately compelling video, and the Monacos got a platform that allowed them to put pressure on Disney. Everybody, it seems, was a winner. Well, except maybe Tigger. And Disney. And us.

On Sunday, video broke internationally of Disney employee Michael J. Fedelem as Tigger, hitting teen Jerry Monaco Jr. in the head. The New Hampshire tourist and his father both claim the hit was unprovoked. They claimed Jerry Jr. needed medical attention and prescription medicine that night.

"Nuh, no provokin' at all, ya know, it was all out of the blue." Junior told FOX News the day before.

The CBS interview was even featured in that morning's post-show email from CBS The Early Show.

The comments were made by Montopoli, associate producer of this section.