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?