Thursday, February 12, 2015

News and Infotainment

Brian Williams' attempt to punish himself for his lies about the Iraq War and Hurricane Katrina by voluntarily taking himself off the air couldn't stop NBC from suspending him without pay, sidelining him for six months and possibly ending his career.  Meanwhile, Jon Stewart, the avatar of fake news, announced that he will be steeping down from "The Daily Show" later this year, citing an urge to move on and a need to spend time with his family . . .who, he's been led to understand, are nice people.  
Accolades have been pouring in for Stewart, whose faux-reporting style made it easily for comedians to use news to their advantage and speak truth to power, presenting TV shows with hard-hitting features that deliver more authentic news than anchors such as Williams and his ilk do.  Over at HBO, "Daily Show" alum John Oliver seems to have done more investigative reporting than the media folks who call themselves investigative reporters.  In commercial TV broadcasting, comedic commentators are indeed the New Journalism of the age.
I don't know who will replace Stewart, but I suggest commentator/comedian John Fugelsang, who is a regular guest on Ed Schultz's MSNBC show. That way, more people will see him.       
Eeeeh . . . yeah, about that . . ..  MSNBC - like the progressive movement it purports to represent - has fallen on hard times and may never recover.  The ratings are so bad that the old joke about the channel having more initials in its name than people watching it is coming close to being a literal truth.  This is why the troubles of Williams, the longest-lasting of the current the Big Three broadcast network news anchors, are so concerning to the NBC/Universal top brass; he's been the only one drawing in large audiences for NBC's news division.  "Today" and "Meet The Press," like MSNBC, are also losing viewers, and now there's no sure bet that the Peacock Network can hold on to what it has going for it in broadcast journalism.  As for MSNBC, expect a major shake-up if things don't improve there soon.  That could even mean that Ed Schultz gets the axe, even though he's the only person in the mainstream media reporting on the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and even though he's reporting on the aftermath of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the coming week.
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On a much more serious note . . . CBS's Bob Simon, one of that network's most stellar reporters and a seasoned war correspondent from both Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War, was killed in a car crash in New York last night.  That's a really big loss.  :-(             

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