Sunday, March 18, 2018

Spoiler Sunday--Lois, The Pulitzer Committee Wants Their Prizes Back...

Lois is having a reunion with her father, General Sam Lane--who in the Rebirth universe seems just to be a jerkwad, and not a sociopathic madman.

Of course arguments ensue, and we quickly get to the source of the friction between them:

Let's assume that no one was immediately endangered by Lois' piece exposing the operation.

But good gosh, Daily Planet--in what way is it remotely acceptable to let a reporter write about her own father?!? There are so many potential conflicts of interest, it doesn't matter how "well" the reporting was done--the very credibility of the piece, and the paper, is flushed away. How in the world could Perry White let that happen? No wonder no one trusts the media...

Of course, the argument circles around and around...until we get to the fact that Lois' "everyone answers to someone" conveniently doesn't apply to the Big S:

And he doesn't know the half of it--he doesn't know they've married.

Look, I know that, as the audience, we KNOW that Superman is a trustworthy dude (except for the times he's been controlled, or possessed, or transformed, or whatever). So we reflexively reject any character who says "But we shouldn't necessarily trust him." But such dramatic deck-stacking doesn't excuse a reporter blindly spewing it. For Lois Lane to make the argument that her values for press coverage magically don't apply to Kal-El--and conditioned solely on the fact that she knows him personally--is hypocrisy of the highest level. And honestly, it makes Lois look kind of stupid--can't she even come up with a better rationalization? Does she not realize that his first argument completely defeats her second argument?

And thee fact that they're married? Leave aside the issue of whether she should reveal his identity. The insane, unforgivable conflict of interest totally destroys any pretense of journalistic integrity.

What if we found out that a New York Times reporter were secretly married to a figure in the administration? What if she were secretly married to the Secretary of State, but still covered the Secretary of State for the paper? And she only gave him only good coverage, and explicitly argued to everyone that he didn't deserve scrutiny because he was just so awesome?!? Isn't that unethical on every possible level?!?Wouldn't such a reporter be exiled from the profession, not rewarded with prizes?

The way the media functions in a super-hero universe probably shouldn't be looked at too closely from a "realistic" viewpoint--like a lot of such conceits, it can't bear the weight. But when the comic itself invites it--when it explicitly posits a particular reporter as a bastion of journalistic virtue, as a rock star in the press, as an admired and much-awarded figure, as "the most important character in the DC Universe" (as some have opined)--then you can't just cough and politely look away when that character violates every journalistic principle there is, and actually boasts about it.

Of course, DC comics & movies have a long history of not understanding journalistic ethics, or how the press works. So, you know, this is really nothing new. But until someone does something about this--a new job for Lois? Have her restrict herself from covering Superman?--please, no more of this "she's the greatest reporter since sliced bread" nonsense.

From Action Comics #999 (2018)


SallyP said...

Putting the necessary suspension of disbelief aside...yes, it is prerty egregious.

Madman said...

Glad to have you back, Snell

Green Luthor said...

And I'll bet Lois has never once asked Superman about NASCAR, American Idol, or MySpace! (Wait, is that a point for or against her...?) :)

George Chambers said...

Lois wouldn't even make my top 10 of "most important DC characters".