Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Koppel's Unique Retrospective

Both Ted Koppel and David Brinkley presided over a unique period in broadcast new journalism, in the 80s and 90s.  While I usually never stayed up for "Nightline", I often enjoyed a cup of coffee or tea while watching (prior to DVR) David Brinkley on Sunday mornings on "This Week".  Both of them were pillars of integrity and respectability at their networks.  Both were screwed by corporate bean-counting MBAs who were trying to make news profitable.  Brinkley died in 2003.  Koppel continues to generate solid reporting.  How he's not turned into a sardonic curmudgeon, I do not know.

Maybe it's because I grew in my awareness of world events during the 80s and 90s, pre-high-speed internet access (dial up was unacceptably lethargic, and rarely used chez moi, during the Clinton Administration).  Maybe it's because I have a longer attention span than a drosophila, and I pay no attention to "Reality Based" contrived drama / Idiocrasy shows, "Competition" shows, or pop culture fluff that networks now try to pass off as "news".  But I really did enjoy Koppel's recent Washington Post Op Ed (links here and here).

"Much of the American public used to gather before the electronic hearth every evening, separate but together, while Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, Frank Reynolds and Howard K. Smith offered relatively unbiased accounts of information that their respective news organizations believed the public needed to know. The ritual permitted, and perhaps encouraged, shared perceptions and even the possibility of compromise among those who disagreed."

go forward 20 years, and...

"Broadcast news has been outflanked and will soon be overtaken by scores of other media options. The need for clear, objective reporting in a world of rising religious fundamentalism, economic interdependence and global ecological problems is probably greater than it has ever been. But we are no longer a national audience receiving news from a handful of trusted gatekeepers; we're now a million or more clusters of consumers, harvesting information from like-minded providers."

Granted, the tag line was misleading "Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news" ...but it did get me to read it.  "Death of real news" sounds boring to most readers...  but a conflict between Papa Bear and indignant, histrionic Olbermann... maybe that's worth reading!

It's not about Olbermann & O'Reilly.  They are just mouth pieces of their media organizations, standard bearers of customized, pablum providing, far leaning perspective confirming, biased data stream providers.  Not "news" providers.  No, they are opinion reinforcers.  Very profitable mouth pieces.  If you want news, go to PBS, NPR, or the BBC.

1 comment:

  1. Golly no, JoeM. Roger Ailes says NPR is run by Nazis!


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