Fri. Oct 25, 2002
Media Circus Wants Credit
Media Circus Wants Credit – I actually heard some bow-tied talking head on CNN this morning wanting to know where the credit was for the media’s help in the sniper case. It’s the same place as that of the truck driver who called 911 when he saw the Caprice at the rest stop. As he said, he’s no hero, he was just doing what he was supposed to do.
Same with the media. What did they do, other than carry the press conferences and announcements of the police, and then engage in unending piled-a-mile-high speculation pulled out of every willing maw that had a faint whiff of ”profiler”? Personally, I thought their coverage was appalling. And it started ”at the top,” with the anchors. This particular event put me over the edge on some folks who already irritated me greatly.
Aaron Brown: ”Er, um … [pause] ... I wanna … um … I need to …er … we’re running out of time here, so in the 1.5 seconds I haven’t filled with my senseless patter, can you explain the meaning of life? Wait, I’m sorry to interrupt, er, I’m so sorry, um, we’re running out of time because I keep telling you we’re running out of time and interrupting you, um, but I need to interject some more er’s, um’s, and stammering idiocies.” I have personally never seen a network anchor more unsuited for the task, and I continue to be amazed at his naked incompetence, proudly displayed each night. What were these people thinking when they hired him? Is he completely unmanageable, i.e., has no one told him, ”Aaron, you use 25% of your air time either interrupting people, apologizing for interrupting them, or telling them how little time you’ve got left, while eating another 10% of your air time with er’s, um’s, and pauses for you to collect your thoughts. In other words, over a third of the time, you look highly unpolished and unprofessional, like a rank rookie new to the job. Please introduce the segments concisely, and get the hell out of the way.”
Connie Chung: Connie, you’re not auditioning to take Maury’s or Sally Jesse’s place. Please conceal your disappointment when a guest refuses to admit they’ve done something ”tabloidish.” You’re like a batter who’s swinging for the grand slam every time, but you whiff it, and end looking at the camera like a deer in the headlights. Your broadcast comes across as a daytime talk show wannabe. A bad one.
Bill O’Reilly: Someone fix this man’s chair before he falls off the left side of my TV screen (am I the only one who’s noticed this?). On second thought, don’t.
Scott Shepperd: Your paraphrased oh-so-cool summaries of the day’s events sound like a drug induced dream that sort of resembles what actually happened. I hope it was good for you, because it sounded like a fairy tale to anyone who’d been actually following the news that day. Not that it’s your responsibility to actually provide solid news information, ”fair and unbiased.” After all, you work for Fox, where personality rules, not news.
These people are supposed to be like traffic cops or conductors, who introduce the correspondent or film clip that actually contains news. These people are not ”in the field” or ”in the know,” their job is to introduce us to people who are. The term ”anchor” wasn’t chosen by chance. They’re supposed to provide a solid yet unobtrusive presence around which the actual news is presented. They are supposed to give us smooth segues from one story to the next … and that’s it!
Instead, we get increasingly bizarre performance art. Prime time has become the Cult of Personality News.
You want credit? Do something so professionally impressive that afterwards people freely offer it, rather than you having to ask, ”hey, where’s mine?” That should be the first sign that you don’t deserve any.