All the news that’s fit to analyze

By Kevin McDonough

United Feature Syndicate

The new six-part series "IFC Media Project" (7 p.m., IFC) promises to offer an "in-depth" look at the news business. Or at least as in-depth as you can get on a show covering four or five major topics in a half-hour.

The debut episode covers news fixations and taboos. Host Gideon Yago ponders why network and cable news shows devote so much time to select missing children — all of them white and photogenic. The segment offers an interview with a former actor who "manages" abduction stories and keeps them in the news. We also learn that during the time spent on one story, more than 100,000 other victims can go missing.

"Project" also tackles the touchy subject of the coverage of Israel and the Palestinians. A correspondent argues that American media provides a disproportionate exposure to Israeli hard-liners and all but obscures the Palestinian side of the conflict. Ironically, if you want a more balanced and warts-and-all coverage of Israel, it’s better to watch Israeli television.


A short segment explores the use of the word "allegedly," and Tucker Carlson (not wearing a bow tie) discusses the state of the pundit industry.

A humorous clip shows how local news stations assign black journalists to cover "black" stories and Hispanic reporters to cover "immigrant" stories and other acts of ethnic typecasting. Of course, IFC should ask just why MTV veteran Yago and his fellow on-air talent all feel compelled to dress, act, shave (or unshave) like hipsters who just crawled out their loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. News isn’t the only medium to stereotype.

• Just how much of the Old Testament stands up to scientific scrutiny? The stories of Genesis and Exodus and other books of the Old Testament form the basis of three great faiths, but what evidence remains of the people who inspired and wrote the Bible? Narrated by Liev Schreiber, "The Bible’s Buried Secrets" on "NOVA" (7 p.m., PBS) follows an international team of archaeologists as they compare biblical texts with still-emerging evidence in the Holy Land.

• TV-themed DVDs available today include "The Complete Monty Python’s Flying Circus Collector’s Edition" and the first season of "Hannah Montana."

Other highlights

• An ailing teen’s story seems shot full of holes on "House" (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14,L).

• Patrick suspects that a "psychic" may be a killer on "The Mentalist" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-14).

• "Dirty Jobs" (8 p.m., Discovery) looks at work on an Oklahoma chicken farm.


• A musical genius’ kidnapping strikes a sour chord on "Fringe" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-14,L).

• As if "The Universe" (8 p.m., History) weren’t big enough, scientists explore the possible existence of parallel worlds.

• A missing paraplegic has a surprising side on "Without a Trace" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14,V).

• Stabler investigates an animal-smuggling ring on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-14), featuring a cameo by Big Boi of Outkast fame.

• Eli courts a philanthropist client on "Eli Stone" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).

Series notes

A secret wargame has very real consequences on "NCIS" (7 p.m., CBS, TV-PG,V) … The scales tell the tale on "Biggest Loser: Families" (7 p.m., NBC) … Two hours of "Dancing with the Stars" (7 p.m., ABC) … The family digests some big news on "90210" (7 p.m., CW, TV-PG) … Megan sets boundaries on "Privileged" (8 p.m., CW, TV-14).

Late night


Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Jack Hanna and Cold Hard Cash appear on "Late Show with David Letterman" (10:35 p.m., CBS) … Jay Leno hosts Larry the Cable Guy, Chris Matthews and Adele on "The Tonight Show" (10:35 p.m., NBC) … Kate Walsh and Ben Folds appear on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (11:05 p.m., ABC) … Jeff Corwin, Debra Messing and John Hodgman are booked on "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" (11:35 p.m., NBC) … Craig Ferguson hosts Kevin Bacon, Sarah Shahi and the Bacon Brothers on "The Late, Late Show" (11:37 p.m., CBS).

What To Read Next
Get Local