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Z on TV
Critic David Zurawik writes about the business and culture of TV
Entertainment TV & Media Z on TV

Were media out of control in Robin Williams coverage?

Watch the latest video at <a href="http://video.foxnews.com">video.foxnews.com</a>

Media coverage of the death of Robin Williams is still being debated for good reason: It was filled with ignorance and wretched excess. And the more time you have to reflect on it, the worse it seems.

From Shepard Smith characterizing Williams as a "coward" on Fox News, to widespread misinformation about the comedian's finances, the coverage was pathetic -- especially on cable news channels where most viewers turned for information initially.

If cable news would follow the simple dictate of publishing only what is known to be true, we would be a much smarter and less addled nation.

The one thing I will defend the media on is publishing details of the suicide. You don't censor public information, because it might have a negative impact on someone. You get into that business, and you wind up printing nothing except what so-called "authorities" tell you that you can publish.

Here's a conversation I had with Howard Kurtz on Fox News Sunday about the coverage on "Media Buzz."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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