The Daily Whim

The Daily Whim

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.

Peanut Gallery

1  Richard wrote:

My favourite commentary is this satirical jab at the media: REPORTERS: Tell us all the secret things that you don't want to tell us. CHIEF: That would jeopardize the case.

2  Moira wrote:

I fall asleep at night dreaming about punching Aaron Brown really hard in the nose. Or the gut. Either one.

3  PhotoDude wrote:

Moira, you're my kind of gal. But I'm afraid all you'd do is hurt your hand. I think he must be impervious to correction. Surely, that must be the explanation.

4  Matt McIrvin wrote:

I've found that since we've had a TiVo, I've lost all desire to watch news on my TV because actual entertainment is always there instead. I get news off newspaper Web sites and various other conduits for wire service feeds. The closest thing to a news show that I watch is "The Daily Show." You might think that this would unplug you from the stream of relevant information, but the reverse is actually true; I think that TV news might have actually discovered the opposite of information. People complain about the mindlessness of television all the time, but their criticisms are usually misplaced; I think that TV news is actually more brain-damaging than 99 percent of entertainment programming. Avoiding TV news broadcasts also makes all political speeches seem more intelligent.

5  Jim Trisler wrote:

CBS News Correspondent Joie Chen (that's JOIE not Julie) did an absolutely wonderful job. Reminding me of Joe Friday of days past, her "just the facts, ma'am" reporting of the sniper case raised my trust level regarding a reporter to an unusual high.

6  Tim Peck wrote:

Skippy Reads the News. By Tammy Bruce, FrontPageMagazine, October 29, 2002. I am getting increasingly irritated with the garbage CNN is trying to pass as news programming. It has gotten so bad over there I thought "Jackass—The Movie" was about Ted Turner. With hosts like Connie "Huh?" Chung and Aaron "Howdy" Brown, they’ve caused a catastrophe that even Christiane Amanpour doesn’t seem willing to cover. [...] I clicked over to CNN and I fell smack-dab into the smarmy-golly pit of Aaron Brown. There he was, doing his best imitation of Jimmy Stewart, while unbeknownst to him his former colleague had just nailed his increasingly irrelevant bottom to the wall. He didn’t know the names of the alleged snipers. If he was watching Fox, though, he would have. Skippy, by the way, was Aaron Brown’s nickname in high school-- a nickname that reeks of silly nothingness. Some people say that we end up looking like our dogs or our nicknames. Brown must not have a dog.

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