How about another story ignored by the MSM? | Main | Live Thread: Presidential Address on Katrina
September 15, 2005

'There Is No Distance in Waveland Anymore' or 'How I learned to Stop Thinking and Love Anderson Cooper: Weepy, All-Human Missionary.'

Mickey Kaus, today, collects a pair of irritating quotes from CNN newshead Jonathan Klein, lavishing praise over white haired, new-school journalist Anderson Cooper:

"He is the anchorperson of the future," Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., said [of Anderson Cooper] in an interview. He is "an anti-anchorperson," he said, adding: "He's all human. He's not putting it on."--New York Times
"I think other news executives are drooling over him," [Klein] says. "He brings a new dimension to the job, which is a concept of an anchor as a kind of missionary. It's a new model for thinking about what the anchorperson ought to be."--New York magazine

On Monday, Mickey wrote:

Wonder why those CNN anchors are so emotional and angry all of a sudden? Are they actually emotional and angry--or are they being told to be emotional and angry? The buried lede in Michael Kinsley's column:
The TV news networks, which only a few months ago were piously suppressing emotional fireworks by their pundits, are now piously encouraging their news anchors to break out of the emotional straitjackets and express outrage. A Los Angeles Times colleague of mine, appearing on CNN last week to talk about Katrina, was told by a producer to "get angry."

Here’s the thing. Politics wise, emotionalism is always going to tilt reaction to the left. I mean, even putting aside the Mars and Venus school of political thought that goes: ‘liberals see the world through emotion, while conservatives respond more detached and thinky,’ when some Empath is going all angry/blubbery on the “Someone, Just Do Something” newschannel, the not so hidden “someone” is usually taken to mean “government.”

But okay, putting even that aside, whatever happened to journalism’s romantic ideal of the world weary stoic? The cool daddy with the icewater in his veins?

Edward R. Murrow, braving the Blitz, perched atop London buildings, describing for his listeners the shattered city about him, did not begin his broadcasts “AAAHHHH! Oh, God, Oh God, Oh God! AAAAAAHHHHHH!” despite the fact that focus groups would surely have revealed this sentiment most dominant in the minds of the London towners about him.

Dan Rather, bless his heart, cut his teeth chasing down Texas windstorms to confront both stoicly and needlessly, struggling to remain upright, emphasizing for viewers the crazed, unreasoning force of nature, and, well, Dan Rather.

But now we turn on the TV and we get Geraldo: (reg. req.)

"Reporters are supposed to remain distant observers. There is no distance in Waveland, anymore." Without this distance, he injects himself into the story, reacting with outrage, holding babies, helping survivors sift through the ruins, and showing viewers his tears.

Get that? Lemme repeat it for you. There is no distance in Waveland anymore.

Now, I don’t know if CNN is instructing it’s anchors to go all ‘feelie’ and ‘outrage’ or they’re just hiring natural ‘Broadcast News’ weepies. Either way, stop. When a nation turn to you, scooping up every morsel on the latest national crisis, your tone matters. Yes, I said it, MSM. You still matter. And much like troops being well served not witnessing Sarge go all “Were gonna die!” wobbly in front in front of them, it would be nice if the tone you set for the nation was that of the “stiff upper lip” sort. Misdirected rage, though it feels good and gets people to tune in, is still misdirected, and really kinda harmful, especially in the early hours when organizations and people still struggling to get online and operational. So set a better tone. Yeah, you can do that, set a tone. Don't pretend you don't think you can or do.

(P.S: You know when I can accept you newscasters getting all blubbery? When a Zeppelin explodes in front of you. Then and only then, it’s okay to get all “Oh, the humanity!” Short of Zeppelin explosions, let's butch it up, huh?)


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posted by Dr. Reo Symes at 05:11 PM

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