Across The Media Universe: Hair, Drugs and Rupe Edition

Beat The Press: According to The Politico's Ben Smith, John Edwards is the "first major Democratic candidate for president" to take a page from the Republican playbook and make attacking the press corps a part of his campaign strategy. He's aggressively responded to stories about his expensive haircuts, for example, releasing a video flashing images of misery in Iraq and New Orleans while the theme song of the musical "Hair" plays. And at the end, this question: "What really matters?" (He has also used the issue in fundraising emails.) Perhaps if Internet video and the "Tank Girl" soundtrack had been around in 1988, Michael Dukakis could have put together a nifty response of his own.

Stoned Cold: Recent PE interviewee Maia Szalavitz has posted her thoughts on media coverage of "a new study claiming that marijuana increases the risk of later psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia by 40%." She argues that most media coverage has neglected to point out that schizophrenia rates have not increased in line with marijuana use rates, a significant point in light of the study's implications. She also complains that most accounts don't quote prominent researchers who say that there is no conclusive proof that cannabis causes psychotic illness. "Such comments don't help the media stir up reefer madness, which they've been doing, quite successfully, for the last few decades," Szalavitz concludes. "Perhaps covering the marijuana beat makes you crazy."

My First Journal: It looks like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp has won the battle to take over Dow Jones & Co. and its flagship Wall Street Journal. Is this, as some seem to think, going to result in the paper transforming from a first-rate news outlet to a mediocre publication willing to sell out its journalistic principles when it helps the parent company's bottom line? We report, you decide.