Was Tom Brokaw This Much of a Whiny Ass Titty Baby?

I’ve been working up the urge to tell Brian Williams to suck it since Scout posted this up.

“If we’re all watching cats flushing toilets, what aren’t we reading? What great writer are we missing? What great story are we ignoring? This is societal, it’s cultural, I can’t change it. We should maybe pause to think about it. Because like everybody else, I can burn an hour on YouTube or Perez Hilton without breaking a sweat. And what have I just not paid attention to that 10 years ago I would’ve just consumed?”

Brian, Brian, Brian, Brian. I’m sorry the chicks don’t love you like they used to. I’m sorry you no longer get it in your hotel room without even calling. I’m sorry the young ones aren’t throwing their panties at you on the NBC News set. But I’m not sure throwing a public temper tantrum was really the way to make yourself look like the sex machine of old.

This might just be me, but I’ve never exploded into unbridled fan lust after somebody made a whiny, needy, entitled asshole out of himself on the Internet. I’m not ruling out that some people might. I’m just saying, I’m a relatively well-informed, well-educated, interested news consumer and while I preferred Peter Jennings to your predecessor, I could have been a potential audience member. Now? No, thanks. I dealt with desperate boys complaining that I wouldn’t let them feel me up in freshman year. I’m not all that eager to repeat the experience.

Jesus tits. The Internet, once and for all, is a tool. It is not an end in and of itself. Some people use it for gossip. Some people use it for knitting. Some people use it to post pictures of their unbearably adorable children, Amy. Some people use it for journalism and politics and commentary. Lumping it all in together and assuming our attention is like a bowl of sugar and there’s only so much just makes Brian and other bellyachers like him look like the kind of ill-informed moron nobody wants to get their news from.

For future reference, Brian my pet, in order, here are the things that are fucking up journalism:

1. Rapacious corporate profit-mongering

2. The consequent starving of newsrooms

3. The equally consequent slashing of staff in marketing and distribution, such that people either don’t know the paper exists, can’t get to it, or both; the promotion of “special segments” over actual news coverage in TV

4. A lethal emphasis on lifestyle journalism, first-person introspective crap, and thumbsucking over crime, courts and schools

5. Moronic executive-driven attemps to ape the Internet instead of using it to assist in the job newspapers and TV news already did well

6. Journalism education that focuses more on teaching people how to write research papers than it does on teaching them how to report and write

7. Crap reporter pay and astronomical CEO bonuses

8. Bias, not toward political figures of one stripe or another, but toward a maintenance of the status quo rather than a relentless and noisy challenging of the same

9. Mismanagement of basic coverage resulting in a loss of connection to the very readers on whom newspapers and news broadcasts depend to survive

10. Fucking anchor banter on the evening news. JESUS, shut up, get out of the way of the story.

Number 697 on this list is some girl saying fuck on her web site. Number 943 is people watching cats flushing toilets.

Once and for all, people will go wherever they have to go to get information they want. They’ll go to TV if they still think TV is providing them something valuable. The fact that they’re not has nothing to do with people just wanting the stupid, it’s to do with the news no longer giving them a reason to take the time.

And the continued blaming of the Internet, bloggers, YouTube, whatever, for things that have nothing to do with Ted Stevens’ tubes and everything to do with the list above just makes me embarrassed for the journalism craft, that our most prominent voices are so completely fucking dumb. Scolding people for not being smart enough to watch your newscast instead of Ask A Ninja is rude, and it smacks of, “Hey, I’m too good for you anyway, so who CARES if you won’t sleep with me! That’s right! I said it! I don’t need you anyway!”

Also? It’s really kind of disingenuous to complain about YouTube when you praised a guy who once went by the pseudonymn of Hindrocket:

As many readers will recall, I participated in NBC’s election night coverage on Nov. 2. I was at Rockefeller Center with Ana Marie Cox and Joe Trippi, representing the blogosphere. Around 1:00 in the morning, I was walking through a deserted lunch room, returning to our set, when a man approached from the opposite direction, heading toward the men’s room. Because he was well dressed and tanned, I took him to be an on-air person. He went out of his way to walk up to me, extended his hand, and introduced himself as Brian Williams. I’d never heard of him, but I said I was John Hinderaker. He said: “I just wanted to tell you that I really appreciate what you guys are doing.” I thanked him and walked on.

So what important story were you missing while you were reading that guy, Brian?



12 thoughts on “Was Tom Brokaw This Much of a Whiny Ass Titty Baby?

  1. The real question is: What am I missing while watching Brian Williams?
    The story is that Brian Williams et al. do not get the news out. What has he ever reported that’s not already out there and investigated by SOMEONE ELSE, including someone on the internet?
    They’re going away, A, and this is the dying breed’s last spasmodic response to their extinction. How are they going to make money now? “Oh no, we might have to use some real Yankee ingenuity. Horrors!”
    Will we do the same when our kids surpass us?

  2. I think that Brian Williams was the first of the network anchors who is not a journalist, but a talking head.
    I suppose they thought if cable could get away with it, why couldn’t the.
    At this point there are more people who don’t remember what television journalism looked like than do.

  3. Maitri brings us a very interesting question: what will be the shape of journalism in 25 years? Newspapers seem to be slowly dying, TV news is largely a joke, and blogs like TPM Cafe and its offshoots are doing the real investigative journalism now. I wonder if newspapers as we know them will still exist in 2030. TV “news” will exist, but the actual news content may have vanished.
    If we reach a state of development where everyone, rich or poor, has easy access to the successor to the internet, and that successsor is still an open media accessible to all writers, then I can easily see that becoming our primary news source.
    This isn’t good news. Just as cable television opened the door to grossly biased “news” reporting on Fox news, an expanded internet will open the door to even more polarized “news” reporting. How will voters ever again have any idea how to judge the elected officials they must decide on every few years?

  4. I was told I missed some story about Anna Nicole Smith while I watched a kitty flushing a toilet.
    Kitty: 1, MSM: 0

  5. For just one exampple:
    I’ll take Firedoglake’s coverage of the Libby trial over any of the cable and network news’ handling of that story. Too bad Brian was watching kitty videos- I guess he missed it.

  6. I don’t watch Brian. Nor do I watch Katie or whatzisname on that other channel.
    Brian came to Seattle to do the news at the local affiliate. They took some video of him walking around the Pike Street Market with the local fluff we have for newscasters around here. When he was back at the studio, he had the gall to talk about how he was raised in Middle Class America and how that was how he presented the news – GAH!
    Their brand of news comes from the same goo they make Peeps with. The only difference is that Peeps look like empty sugar and candy fluff shaped into funny creatures.
    Brian and Katie have to disguise their true identities.

  7. Hey, was that a crack at my completely adorable, cutest granddaughters in the history of the world? Take it back. Or something. I do agree with you on everything in the post. But take back the gratuitous slam at my grandbabies. I am thanking you in advance.

  8. Erm, the mom-blog linked was with a compliment, if that’s what you’re talking about. I’ve been showing off Amy’s Zoe-pics since she started taking them.
    The point was that the Internet can be used for all kinds of purposes, and that to pretend it’s all intended to compete with Williams, and do so in a trivial manner, is reductive.
    The post wasn’t meant to “slam” anybody but Williams.

  9. A, I think Keith Olbermann is one of the best anchors out there, but I find watching even his show difficult sometimes. The other night he gave the first 20 minutes to the Imus story. Imus makes racist, mysogynistic, and antisemitic comments on his shows. Yes, he deserved to be fired. Yes, there are others out there who deserve to be fired, but 20 minutes while the Middle East is blowing itself to hell, and Bush is dragging the country into the dirt seems overblown. Then come the commercials, and then the celeb stories that Keith doesn’t want to do, but the producers insist on. It’s hard to stay put, even with the best.
    Public television and radio get blander and blander. They’re doing themselves in and blaming the rabble, the dirty hoi polloi, who frequent the internet tubes, when they should be looking in the mirror and considering their own sins of commission and omission against real journalism.

  10. i did the nightly news as teen. until i had to switch to mcneil/lehrer, but then i went NPR. at least the fluff is interestng there.
    the teevee gnews just seem to want me to jump thru emotional hoops. i don’t care about anna nicole or the latest murdered blonde.
    i do miss pre-Newt Cspan tho.

  11. “And what have I just not paid attention to that 10 years ago I would’ve just consumed?”
    TV news, Brian. There are better places to find information.

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