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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Future Face Of Network News

Whatever else there *isn't* to interest me in the Drudge Report, he has this raft of links including one to the delectable Tina Brown on whom I've had a crush since I first heard her, just down from Oxford, scything a bunch of fogey publishing types off at the knees for their usual pompous blah. I knew my limits even then and just stood back and ogled the firebrand minx, but some of my smarter-aleck pals tried their luck and bit the dust.

It seems fashionable among my laughably unfashionable cronies to scoff at her but they're wrong, and her Dec 8 discussion of the state of network news in this country makes my point.

Some deliciously juicy quotes:

"Tom Brokaw looks more of a genius every day for the timing of his exit from NBC and for handpicking news machine Brian Williams as his successor. It was only a year ago, and it already feels like the Cretaceous era. Peter Jennings was still alive. Dan Rather was having his King Lear moment. Anderson Cooper was still a promising albino-haired gimmick who hadn't started to emote yet. It was fashionable to make fun of Rather for overdoing the trench coat "I'm just a reporter" routine, but you did feel his experience was experience rather than his experience was television.


The unflagging Brian Williams, we are told, is always fighting for more time for hard journalism -- but that riff is getting old hat now, as sepia-toned as "Good Night, and Good Luck." A morning-show producer I know spoke with a straight face of the heroic struggle she'd waged (and lost) to get a Tony Blair interview last year up from two minutes and thirty seconds to a comprehensive four minutes. (That kind of length is reserved for Brad and Angelina.) The New York Observer pointed out recently that according to Andrew Tyndall, a media analyst who tracks network news, ABC, CBS and NBC combined have averaged 166 minutes a month on Iraq this year -- which works out per network to roughly 55 minutes a month or less than 120 seconds a day. Two-minute managers have given us the two-minute war.

Love the bit about Brad and Angie. Spot-on.

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