News Buzz-Cut

February 12, 2015

newsmanThickly-overcast this early Thursday on California’s north coast, yet a blue-white clear streak can be seen way-low to the east, portends a sunrise a-coming — we’re forecast to be warmer than yesterday, but that shit is in the wind, predicted to be from ‘slight,’ to ‘calm‘ today so maybe…

In the chaos of current events, news-gathering/reporting, and possibly some journalism, too, were itself lede stories, or at least made above-the-fold headlines this past week.

(Illustration found here).

One newsie narrative story was absurdist-real, another ironically-fake, and to lend some history, a tragic bit of news from last night — great newsman, and one of the last, still-working CBS guys from the Walter Cronkite days, Bob Simon, was killed in a car wreck in New York City.
And even at 73, was still gum-shoeing the news beat.
Via Politico:

According to CBS, Simon was in the midst of a piece on on the Ebola virus and the quest for a cure for this Sunday’s broadcast.
He was working on this piece with his daughter Tanya, a producer for “60 Minutes.”

Simon spent five decades as a correspondent with CBS, joining the network in 1967.
According to CBS, he was aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975 at the end of the Vietnam War.
During the Gulf War in 1991, Simon and three of his colleagues spent 40 days in Iraqi prisons, after being captured by Iraqi forces at the border between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Simon wrote about the experience in his book “Forty Days.”

Sad, shocking shit. Always a fan of Cronkite and CBS, I grew into my formative years, adulthood and now old asshole watching Simon report from all over the world on a variety of topics — a time dating back a more-than a generation — and was of a real-old-school of journalism, which was use of actual facts.

Nowadays, not so much. The professional news business should be considered in a shitty place when the most-trusted news guy in America hosts a phony news show — lead-in to the ridiculous Brian Williams dust-up, a story that’s nearly dominated the news cycle for a week, and allowed for some big, weird headlines at a ton of news outlines.
I’m sure you’ve been following the story, which like such creatures, started at low level, then gurgled out of control — Williams canned from NBC for six months, the network so pissed, yet yielded to history (via TMZ): ‘In making the decision to suspend and not fire Williams, NBC News honcho Deborah Turness said they considered the good work Williams did for 22 years.’
In all likelihood, though, Williams is seemingly finished as a MSM TV anchor, he won’t be much-able to look at the camera straight again, and we see him looking straight — from here on out, Williams will always carry some form of shit-eating grin.

In the mid-to-late-1990s, I caught Williams a few times appearing on David Letterman’s “Late Show,” and really enjoyed the guy. This way-before anchorage came around, and he seemed funny, humble and gracious. Williams was news/entertainment, as shown by his appearances on “30 Rock” and other TV venues later on, yet could also carry-off to a required degree the authority needed to head a major-TV news brand.
Read an account of the ex-Army helicopter guy who started this whole mess at the Duluth News Tribune.

Yet within the theater of the absurd, Williams is accused of embellishing a war story, reporting from a war zone of a war that was a lie, an elaboration of a falsehood, a caught-in-the-act pure-form of knowledgeable embellishment.
Scott Long on Monday, in an article (at Mondoweiss) titled, ‘I Misremember Iraq,’ including this on the ugly-pseudo Williams scandal:

What I don’t get is why this is an issue.
Williams made up a story.
But he was in the middle of the most fantastic made-up story in American history.
The Iraq war, written by Bush with a little help from Tony Blair and Micronesia and Poland, was a gigantic fiction, as beautifully told and expressive of the moment’s cultural mythology as The Adventures of Baron Munchausenor A Million Little Pieces, or Three Cups of Tea.
The reasons were fake, the goals were fake, the triumph was fake.
Nothing was true except the dead people, who aren’t talking.
The war countered imaginary threats and villainies with imaginary victories and valor.
Williams added his embroidery in the spirit of invention.
Why are the other tale-spinners turning on him now?

Interesting piece.

And on the other foot within the same shoe, and on the same day as NBC ungraciously grounded Williams, an even-more tumultuous announcement — Jon Stewart will leave Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” sometime this coming year. And thusly, another shitstorm of news stories, features, antidotes and other miscellaneous bullshit plowed paper, airwaves and InterWebs.
Of course, Stewart is the much-bigger player than Williams — “The Daily Show” is now an institution, and the larger picture would be who/how to replace him.
Stewart did tag Williams in a ‘Daily Show’ comment on the scandal, saying William’s problem is “Infotainment Confusion Syndrome,” which is a malady that strikes ‘“when the celebrity cortex gets its wires crossed with the medulla anchordalla.”
And the war zone of the above-mentioned scandal? Stewart concluded (and a reason he will be sorely missed):

“Never again will Brian Williams mislead this great nation about being shot at in a war we probably wouldn’t have ended up in if the media had applied this level of scrutiny to the actual f–king war,” Stewart said.

In a crossing wires view within the same heatlamp, Michael Goodwin at the New York Post thinks Williams should replace Stewart, and advises him:

The timetable dovetails nicely with your six-month suspension from NBC for making up stuff.
Your gift for gab got you in hot water, but, if you play your cards right, it now could be the key to your next job.
I’m not usually given to conspiracy theories, but the timing of Stewart’s announcement and your suspension is too loaded to be a coincidence.
Stewart could have dropped his bombshell at any time, so the fact that he did it, oh, at about the exact time NBC was dropping the bomb on you, well, that means something.
Hell, it might mean he wants your job!

Funny piece, with a swipe at some assholes.

Today’s another news day, though — them headlines won’t write themselves.

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