The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Rathergate and network news

The saner lobe of the bicephalic Wall Street Journal considers the sequelae under hed CBS Controversy Comes As Network Nightly News Shows Are Losing Clout.

Nightly news viewers are aging and dying off; shout shows and fluff are cheap and draw audiences. Suits are risk-averse. Old Dan Rather's little problem just gives the process a bit of a shove. Nothing much original, but a useful summary.

The kicker:
"The CBS story doesn't mean that people should or will back away from smart, investigative reporting," says Neal Shapiro, president of NBC News, adding that the only restriction GE "has ever given me is to get it right."

Now, given that to err is human [1], that is some Sword of Damocles!

  1. Mentally doodling, I wonder about Errare est humanum. Online, this is attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca. (There are, according the Latin Library, two Senecas, father and son. The three words do not, however, appear in any of the works of either Senaca online at the Latin Library - according to Google, at least.)

    My copy of King's Classical and Foreign Quotations has an extended entry. The main attribution is Melchior de Polignac in his poem Anti-Lucrèce (Anti-Lucretius 5, 58) (which does not appear to be online). It also quotes (in addition to a couple of minor authors) St Jerome (Ep 57, 12):

    errasse humanum est, et confiteri errorem, prudentis
    and Cicero (Phil 12, 2, 5):
    Cuiusvis hominis est errare, nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare. Posteriores enim cogitationes, ut aiunt, sapientiores solent esse.

    Any man is liable to err, but no one but a fool will persist in his error. As they say, second thoughts are generally the wisest.

    The English To err is human is from Pope's Essay on Criticism.


The NYT has a piece suggesting that the Killian Krisis isn't doing much damage to Viacom.

The reason seems to be that CBS News is a pretty small component of Viacom's profits: of last year's $3.6 billion operating income, Heyward's Heroes contributed around $100-300 million, according to one Viacom anonymouse.

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