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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Boo-Hoo: Gunga Dan Laments the Future of News

Damn, I missed talk-like-a-pirate-day... 'tis ill fortune, lads. Still, I'll steal a good gag from old Captain Redbeard Rum (from Blackadder II) to cast an insult at Dan Rather: You have a woman's journalistic integrity, m'lord!

(Why not another line from Rum, based on where he would sail since he doesn't know the way to the Cape of Good Hope: "...sail round and round the Isle of Wight until everyone gets dizzy and head for home.")

Anyway, Dan nearly shed tears over the claim that politicians are making journalists in newsrooms scared. What a bunch of pansies.

Let's take a look at what Rather (and another cry-baby) said:

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather said Monday that there is a climate of fear running through newsrooms stronger than he has ever seen in his more than four-decade career.

What could this terror be? Baathists, Osama bin-Laden, another strike from the jackass Islamo-facsists?

Rather famously tangled with President Nixon and his aides during the Watergate years while Rather was a hard-charging White House correspondent.

Addressing the Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan, occasionally forcing back tears, he said that in the intervening years, politicians "of every persuasion" had gotten better at applying pressure on the conglomerates that own the broadcast networks. He called it a "new journalism order."

He said this pressure -- along with the "dumbed-down, tarted-up" coverage, the advent of 24-hour cable competition and the chase for ratings and demographics -- has taken its toll on the news business. "All of this creates a bigger atmosphere of fear in newsrooms," Rather said.

Politicians?!?!?! Dan went after Nixon with a passion... and considered it an honor. I suspect he would never get so wishy-washy about pressure from unhappy politicians back in the day. So what gives? Why now? Is it because news consumers and audiences have been flocking away from junk journalism... because some folks are blogging news and analysis... because talk radio has helped conservatives... because G.W. was elected again??? Because the Lefties generally look a great deal sillier than back in the glory days of Nixion's resignation?

This guy has an eggshell ego.

Why not act like real journalists and report on who is applying pressure, how, what they want you to say, and what they don't want you to say. Wouldn't a real journalist do that? Push back... and act like a man.

Rather was accompanied by HBO Documentary and Family president Sheila Nevins, both of whom were due to receive lifetime achievement awards at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards on Monday evening.

Nevins said that even in the documentary world, there's a certain kind of intimidation brought to bear these days, particularly from the religious right.

"If you made a movie about (evolutionary biologist Charles) Darwin now, it would be revolutionary," Nevins said. "If we did a documentary on Darwin, I'd get a thousand hate e-mails."

Oh no!!! A thousand hate e-mails! You wuss, I suspect certain radio talkshow hosts get thousands of hate e-mails on a regular basis... and they continually broadcast their opinion and analysis.

Look sweetheart, if you really believe that Darwin needs another documentary and you want to stick it to the folks in Jesusland... then do it. Stop whining because you can't take criticism, or a differing opinion, or an electronic note from a guy online thinks you're a heathen.

Real documentarians wouldn't get so bent out of shape for this sort of thing. Real journalists wouldn't be half as smug or half as insecure.

Nevins took up the cause for Rather, who was emotional several times during the event.

"When a man is close to tears discussing his work and his lip quivers, he deserves bosses who punch back. I feel I would punch back for Dan," Nevins said.

When a man is that close to tears he is a pussy... unless one of his parents is at death's door, he's watching a movie about Lou Gehrig or Old Yeller, or someone just pulled one of his nose hairs. Both of these idiots would probably cry at the opening titles to a Barbara Streisand movie . They're either emotional idiotsor frauds... and considering Rather's track record I'm considering the second possibility.

(Just so you know, I will get a little choked up at one of the ending court scenes in "Tucker: A Man and His Dream", the betrayal scene in "Braveheart", and a few others... so I'm not completely off the hook myself.)

Rather praised the coverage of Hurricane Katrina by the new generation of TV journalists and acknowledged that he would have liked to have reported from the Gulf Coast. "Covering hurricanes is something I know something about," he said.

"It's been one of television news' finest moments," Rather said of the Katrina coverage. He likened it to the coverage of President Kennedy's assassination in 1963.

"They were willing to speak truth to power," Rather said of the coverage.

I take it Dan didn't see the ABC Special Report on September 15th after the President's speech with Dean Reynolds at the Houston Astrodome. Reynolds is an idiot too... and he apparently can't fish very well. (However, I can't either, but when I was in the news biz I never did anything of the kind.)

(Thanks to PoliticalTeen for the video and links about ABC's Dean Reynolds.)

Rather sidestepped the question of what should happen to the evening news in the expected makeover. "Not my call," he said. And he said he hadn't been asked, either.

"I gave it everything I had, I didn't hold anything back. I did the best newscast we were capable of doing," Rather said.

Yeah, you gave it everything you had... and both Al Gore and John F-ing Kerry still lost.

Madonn', will this guy ever stop acting like he's important?!?!?!


UPDATE: 9:20 AM, September 21, 2005

Laura Ingraham was just talking about Rather on Larry King Live. "Because I'm a pro." What a self-serving moron.

Dan, you're not a pro... you're a prop.


AND... Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler has a nice bit on the subject.

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