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December 20, 2006



Take Two and Call Me When There’s News


You're right: Williams often seems to take his cues from Couric and that is bewildering. You mention a lot of issues that get little or no mention on all the network news shows. In addition to those, I would add the situation in Somalia which I'm guessing most Americans have little knowledge of. The following quote from the BBC makes me think that one day Somalia will be major news again in this country and most of us won't have a clue what the U.S. role should be to help negotiate peace in that country:
“....there are fears the conflict will plunge the entire region into crisis.”
Full article: http://rawstory.com/showarticle.php?src=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.bbc.co.uk%2F2%2Fhi%2Fafrica%2F6195863.stm

Also, as sorry as I am for the families of the Mt. Hood climbers who have lost their lives, the search for the men and the tragic ending simply should not have been a top story day after day after day. It is certainly news, but the hard truth is that it doesn't affect the country as a whole; only the three dead men's friends and families and other mountain climbers. It took precious news time away from the national and world stories you referenced in your post today.

Kit E

I have to agree Scuttle, on both your points. I engage in the same sort of mountain climbing myself, and those of us in the climbing community obvioulsy mourn when a mountaineering accident claims lives. But we also cringe when it becomes a media circus, for a lot of reasons. The average person reaction I often hear is that people shouldn't be allowed to do these climbs and take such risks, or expect to be rescued. Members of the alpine mountaineering community know that if something goes wrong, you are basically on your own but that is a risk we choose to take. We'd all hate to see public fear and anger ginned up by a media circus limit what we go to the mountains for: the chance to be fully on our own in nature. Our risk-adverse culture chips away at this constantly.

Quite frankly, the media turns human tragedy into a bizarre sort of emotional porn, and speaking as someone who also lives in Denver and was here for the Columbine media orgy, I think I know it when I see it.

Steve Blake

If you watch (mainstream)television then you get what you deserve.
Pax, Steve


There are so many stories more important than the pain reliever thing. Who doesn't know that information. Putting it on the labels is like telling a parent to remove the plastic bag from the doll before giving it to the child because it could cause suffication. REALLY?

These morning shows live for the soft stories. I guess their attitude is that their audience doesn't want to hear real news. Well let me fill you in folks. The smartest people on the planet are the senior citizens and if they don't get the information from your program they turn it off and go to the internet. They WANT REAL NEWS.


Kit E:
Your comment, "...the media turns human tragedy into a bizarre sort of emotional porn..." is so goddamn on the money. With all the time the 24 hours "all news" networks have, when there is some kind of large story, they just seem to wallow in it and constantly replay the part of the story that will have viewers shaking their heads in disgust or sadness so that the channel won't be changed. And unrelated to media: all this talk about who should pay for things like rescue operations is on its face pure BS. Whether it's something small like the Fire Department rescuing a kitten in a tree (and who ever advocates the kitten's owner paying for that?) or something larger and more tragic like the events at Mt. Hood, there is money from local, state and the Federal government to pay for it. If we have 2 billion dollars a week for Iraq, billions for the Savings and Loan debacle of the 80's, tax cuts for millionaires, billions in giveaways and incentives for corporations to remain in the city they threaten to leave, then we've got the relatively small amounts for rescue operations. It should also be noted that when the military is involved in rescue, the cost is already budgeted into the yearly expenditures as training.

Steve Blake:
I watch the nightly newscasts when I can not because that is my primary source for knowing what is going on in this country and around the world. For that, I read the NY Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, The Nation, The Progressive, Columbia Journalism Review, etc. and listen to NPR and the BBC and watch ITV and the BBC and on the web, sites like Independent UK, Raw Story, Media Matters, this site, etc. The reason I check out the nightly news is because it tells me what kind of crap is being served up to millions of people in this country who only get their news from that one source and it gives me an idea of what they may be thinking and how they may be voting in the future. I don't mean that in a patronizing way and that I'm so smart. It's just that millions of people in this country don't even read a damn paper and if media criticism sites like MediaBloodhound and others want to hold the CBS, NBC and ABC folks' feet to the fire, they (and people like me who follow these things) have to watch these shows to know what they're spewing.

You are so right. People want hard news no matter what the "experts" and consultants are telling the TV news division honchos. The proof is in the overcooked Today Show-style pudding that Katie Couric has concocted. Sure, all the nightly newscasts have always had what I remember MediaBloodhound once referring to as the "Petey the Goat" human interest story of the evening, but Couric has made almost the entire newscast a soft focus, soft news, Barbara Walters gauzy interview style show that ends with "Choo Choo, the water skiing squirrel" and the other two newscasts seem to be following suit even though viewers are fleeing Couric in droves.


Maybe CBS should consider replacing Couric altogether with Choo Choo the water skiing squirrel.


As Choo Choo's agent, I can tell you with a 100% degree of certainty that the Chooster won't read that CBS teleprompter for less than 16 mill a year and the Managing Editor title.

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