Saturday, September 03, 2005

The reporters' revolt

I am a long-time and persistent critic of the news media, of which I once was a member, and particularly of television news, which I have described as something other than journalism. Last night I was forced to change my mind, at least temporarily. If you did not see the reporter's revolt on Fox, you missed one of broadcast journalism's great moments. The "anchors" and talking heads in the air conditioned studios tried to put "perspective"--read an administration spin--on what the reporters and producers were showing. At which point their own reporters chopped their heads off. Shepard Smith and--would you believe--Geraldo Rivera (in tears--and I believe the tears) would take no crap from the airheads. The people at the Superdome and the Convention Center were locked in by government officials and kept from leaving. Kept from leaving! Rivera asked how that could happen and Smith described a check point in which the government blocked escape Why are they doing that? Smith paused, shrugged, and said quietly "I don't know."

"I want to get perspective here..." Sean Hannity started.
"That's all the perspective you need!"
Hannity said Fox had been showing the convoys entering the city, suggested that the reporters tell them what wonderful difference it made. Smith and Rivera wouldn't stand for it.
"Look at the face of the baby," said Rivera in tears. "Let them go. Let them out of here. Let them walk over the interstate and get out of here."

Hannity couldn't break away fast enough.

If you'd like to see the video--and by all means do, it will make your day--go to the video feed at Crooks & Liars.

Meanwhile, Jack Shafer at Slate has noticed the same thing. He calls it the revolt of the talking heads. Everytime a reporter talks to a politician they spend all their time congratulating each other on the swell job they're doing. The reporters are having none of it. It is the greatest fiaco in the histor of the country and the folks suffering in the South, and those of us appalled at the incompetence of the various governments apparently don't believe a word of it.

As Bill Maher said on HBO, maybe we got our media back.

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