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Not the best week for journalism

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Hello once more. I’ve returned from my unannounced and sudden hiatus to discuss yet another issue in the complicated and conflicted realm of journalism. Essentially, three important figures in journalism died in the past week, two literally.

First, Brian Williams, host of the NBC Nightly News, long respected newsman with a penchant for storytelling, for building drama and evoking emotion while remaining as unbiased and unflappable as possible, has been accused embellishing, even lying, about some of his past experiences. After recalling a story that occurred 12 years ago where he flew in a military Chinook helicopter during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq that was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade and forced to land, military members questioned his retelling of the sequence of events. He later admitted he “made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago,” and took himself off the NBC news desk. Of course, as per usual in these situations, it was not enough for the viewers, or for NBC. He has since been suspended for six months from NBC, and all of his past work, particularly his time with Seal Team 6 and in Hurricane Katrina, are now being put in the cross-hairs. If other inconsistencies are found, his career, for all intents and purposes, may be over.

While this happened, CBS news correspondent Bob Simon was killed in a horrible-looking car crash in New York City at the age of 73. While I can’t say I singled Bob Simon out as one of my idols in journalism or writing, a car crash seems a mundane way to go for a man who barely escaped Saigon and the Hanoi offensive in 1972. Then again, he apparently wasn’t wearing a seat belt while being driven around in the livery car, so maybe his balls were just too big for this world in the end.

And the next day, the NEXT DAY people, New York Times columnist David Carr dies of currently unknown causes at 58. Carr was someone I enjoyed reading. He was very forward-thinking early in his career, and he had a bluntness to his writing that I appreciated. Plus, his path to get to where he was, recovering from alcohol and drug addiction the way he did, simply had me rooting for him for years.

In Simon and Carr(funkle) we lost two excellent journalists who were willing to explore the hard topics, be they political or personal. These were two big names in the industry who will not be so easily replaced, and their impact, particularly with Simon’s work in the Vietnam War, cannot be measured. But even with these two deaths, the Eye of Sauron remains on Brian Williams as the world retroactively analyzes his entire career.

When it comes to Williams, I don’t feel like I can say anything one way or another, and I don’t know if I can call incorrectly remembering events that took place 12 years ago a damning lie that should ruin a man’s career. My respect of the man’s past work is still set a bit too high on the pedestal for me to simply rip it down like the Berlin Wall. Besides, there are more than enough studies on memory and how we can misremember the events of a traumatic, emotionally charged occurrence, and its certainly possible this happened here. I have never been one to crucify a person for one mistake; we as human beings can try to be as careful as we can, but mistakes are inevitable. If this is truly a case of incomplete recall, then I believe Williams should be excused, forgiven and allowed to return to the fold and the industry.

But if the scrutiny of his career finds other issues, confirmed examples of embellishing, juxtaposing or flat-out falsehood, then a lot of questions have to be asked. Why were his stories not more scrutinized? Why did it take this long for someone to step out and say something? How far back does this go? And, of course, why?

Fact checking in the industry has been failing for years, and this is hardly the first example of it doing so. But pinning all of the little white lies of journalism on that alone is not enough. The majority of the responsibility for telling a truthful tale falls on the storyteller. And in this instance, it seems Brian Williams has failed. Hopefully, this is the first time this has happened, and it will be a slight blemish on a sterling career, instead of the Jenga piece that brings down the tower.

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Written by mlogli

February 14, 2015 at 3:59 pm

Live blog of the Super Bowl pt. 2

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7:08: Countdown time. This is interesting…

7:09: Liking this so far. Pretty cool.

7:11: Well shes definitely live now. Guitar with sparks coming out! Guess Slash was busy today.

7:13: Too much butt! Anyone or anything with a two foot radius of Beyonce’s behind no longer exists because it’s been demolished by the centrifugal force generated by her gyrating hips.

That’s why the backup dancers aren’t getting that close to her.

7:14: Interesting song choice here. Pulling out that song with Sean Paul from six years ago? That’s an unexpected choice.

Never liked that song.

7:16: THERE IT IS! THE TRIO REUNITED!

Those other two members from before never existed.

7:17: That’s a lot of fire. I guess it must be unbearably warm there now.

Cue Charlie’s Angels pose, as practiced by millions of female teenagers with Facebook accounts at least once in their lives.

7:18: Sound quality is starting to suck.

7:19: I was really kind of hoping to see the rest of the group do that dance from “All the Single Ladies” too, but guess not. They still can’t dance.

7:22: So yeah, that wasn’t too bad really. Nothing too fancy in my opinion. Nice job Beyonce.

7:24: That was a very sweet commercial for the troops. I can’t diss that. I can diss Oprah though.

She sucks.

Yeah I got nothing.

7:26: Well I’ve been waiting for this all night. The 2 Broke Girls spectacular! Featuring the cast being skanks. How that was different from the show itself I’m not sure.

7:29: Five years ago, I would have really wanted to eat that Hardees breakfast sandwich. Now, it kind of grosses me out. I guess that means I’m getting old.

7:31: Jacoby Jones is now the MVP of this game. Two unbelievable touchdown plays. A 109-yard return. 49ers are toast. 28-6 Ravens.

7:37: Well…the lights just went out. Never seen that before. And looks like all the microphones are out too. Suckers just cut to a commercial. Whoopsies.

It’s nice to know random stuff like that can still go wrong on national television. That will be fun later.

7:41. Half the lights still aren’t on. Scoreboard is out too. This is hilarious. Hope no one pulls a Tonya Harding in the middle of the dark and knocks out Joe Flacco.

7:44: And the first shot we see is of Flacco stretching in a weird way on his back. Perfect.

7:49: Are the lights on yet? I don’t want to see any more CBS commercials.

7:53: And now, on The Wild World of Stretching, Ray Lewis does the splits with a trainer between his legs. Let’s watch.

7:59: NO! YOU DO NOT GET TO MAKE THE JOKE EVERYONE ON MY FACEBOOK WALL IS MAKING BY SAYING THAT BEYONCE KNOCKED THE LIGHTS OUT! NO! DAMN YOU SIMMS!

8:03: There’s a counter now? Why is there a counter now?

8:08: Fast response to the Super Bowl Blackout from Oreo.

Image

Ore-Oh Myyyyyyy

8:11: Game finally started! All that time to draw up a winning play and the 49ers still can’t get the first down.

8:15: It’s Febru-any you fools! Say it right!

8:20: It’s a Randy Moss appearance! About time.

8:22: Nothing beats an astronaut! Except maybe Tracy Morgan.

8:23: Excellent use of David Letterman and Andrew Luck. For those who don’t know, Letterman is an Indy native. That’s why that works.

8:24: Damn Crabtree, you so CRAAAAAzy. Big touchdown for the 49ers. They needed that very badly. Now the 49ers need to make a stop on defense, starting with pressure on Flacco. 28-13 Ravens.

8:25: CREEPY ROBOTS! UNCANNY VALLEY, UNCANNY VALLEY! And they know kung fu! Boo you Kia for scaring the crap out of me. I’m glad I didn’t buy your car a few months ago.

8:27: PSY! YES! I need to change my pants because of the pure joy of what I just witnessed. Psy using Gangnam Style to open pistachios. Goddamn brilliant.

8:28: Apparently the NFL just changed the Jacoby Jones return from 109 yards, which broke the record, to 108, which tied the record. God the NFL and Roger Goodell ruin everything. This really supports the Goodell hates New Orleans conspiracy theory. No records allowed to be broken in there. Except for the record for longer amount of time a game was stopped because the lights went out.

The previous records was 0 minutes and 0 seconds by the way.

8:30: Flacco will feel that sack in the morning. Yikes.

8:31: I think the 49ers got the momentum back. Wow. What a shift. All of the lights, all of the lights.

8:32: And Frank Gore goes into the endzone untouched to make it a one-score game. if they were back at the one-yard line, that would have been a 99-yard touchdown. 28-20 after the extra point.

8:34: Just keep swimming, no diggity. Oh yeah, and drink Beck’s Sapphire. It’s good or something.

8:37: That was a stupid sweet commercial. Nice one Budweiser. Didn’t even need to involve the troops to make people cry.

8:40: Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. Really Ray Rice? This is surreal. 49ers ball and they’re already in field goal range.

8:42: Great tip by the Ravens. Time to see if Akers was worth sticking with in the post season.

No good, but what happened with the flag here? OH SNAP. He gets a do-over.

Take Two: That time he got it. 28-23 Ravens.

8:50: Another injury for the Ravens. That was a terrible tackle.

8:56: A touchdown may be a win for the Ravens. A field goal…I don’t know…

No good. Unless he tries to fake them out again, it’s field goal time.

31-23 Ravens. Here we go. (cue Bud Light reference)

8:59: So that’s who Paul Harvey was. It was a strange farmer commercial, but it definitely kept my interest.

9:02: Moss lives!

9:04: There’s Kaepernick! Touchdown 49ers! Will they get the 2-point conversion?

DAMN Ed Reed gave that no chance to happen. Good job by the Ravens. They’re doing just enough to protect the lead. But they need to do more.

9:06: I knew Babylandia was real!

That commercial just told me not to attempt that. I am so attempting that.

9:13: Challenging the sot of the ball? That’s unusual.

9:15: I would be SO PISSED if that happened to me. I would divorce my wife on the spot, hah.

9:17: Anquan Boldin making the ridiculous catch yet again. I can’t believe he came down with that.

9:21: Field goal made. 4:19 left and Baltimore up 31-26. Can they hold on?

9:22: I appreciate the use of William Dafoe, but that was definitely the second time that song was used in a commercial during the Super Bowl. Not even the same company.

9:26: VERNON DAVIS!!!! Just short of a catch. That was a perfect throw. Maybe slightly too much but you have to make that.

Crabtree picks up the next thing though.

9:28: Frank Gore nearly gets the touchdown. I don’t know if the Ravens will stop them in the red zone. If they do, it may be the game.

9:31: One more good commercial before the game ends. Thanks Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen!

9:34: Damn what a hit. Knocked it right out of his hands. Here comes the deciding play…

NOPE! That’s gonna be it!

9:40: I take it back, looks like the 49ers will get at least one chance to get into the end zone. This season may defined by the Hail Mary.

Oh wow! That might actually have been brilliant! They killed as much time as possible before taking a safety! Only three seconds left…

9:45: And that’s the game! The Ravens win the Super Bowl!

And Flacco is the MVP! What a great game, and a great postseason for Flacco! He deserves the win. Arguably it should also go to Anquan Boldin for being on the opposite side of all those damn catches.

9:47: Hooray for snow angels in the confetti! Confetti angels!

9:49: And in the most anti-climactic ending ever, the Las Vegas Showgirls get the Coke….after they were all just standing in front of the fridge…for quite some time…staring each other down…she literally just reached out and grabbed it…

That was the laziest commercial I’ve ever seen. Boo you ad agency that came up with that crap.

9:51: “Were you surprised Danny?” “Yeah I was.”

Of course you were surprised stupid. Everyone picked the Ravens to lose besides Sharpe. Derp.

9:55: NOO NOT THAT DAMN KISS AGAIN! I HATE YOU GO DADDY! GO AWAY! GO AWAY AND NEVER RETURN!

9:56: Coming up next is “Elementary,” a show no one is going to watch that will probably be cancelled before the fourth season.

HOLY CRAP ITS RICHARD DENT! DA BEARS!

9:59: Everyone boos Goddell and the Ravens are world champions. That’s how it has to be.

“I told him I loved him.” “What did he say?”

Unfortunately it wasn’t, “You’re dead to me.”

10:00: Go Flacco Go Flacco Go! Go Flacco Go Flacco Go! (to the tune of the Ninja Rap)

10:02: And Ray Lewis ends his career like John Elway once did, on top of the goddamn world.

I think I’m about done here. It was a great game, and the better team seemed to win. The 49ers dug themselves into a hole they couldn’t get out of this time. The Ravens were too strong and too good. But they got really close. Can’t wait for the next season. Go Bears!

P.S. The commercial showing was pretty poor. I hope I never EVER see that GoDaddy commercial ever again.

Written by mlogli

February 4, 2013 at 4:04 am