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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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

What is it with nightly news?

It lasts, shorn of commercials, a bare 22 minutes; it's run way out of prime time - at 6.30pm, when half the nation is on their way home from work; a five minute report is its equivalent of War and Peace.

As a means of presenting information on events and problems in the world, it is next to useless.

Its value, I suppose, is as a continuity, a coelacanth of broadcasting: from Rather, through Cronkite to Murrow, an almost direct path to the Golden Age of Television, and of pre-Vietnam normalcy [1].

Even discounting Rathergate blogger triumphalism, the news caravan has clearly moved on.

Anne Applebaum's 'gate piece explores the point.

A New York Observer piece, under hed Kerry Catches On, Waiting for Press To Declare Comeback, brings the point into an interesting take on Kerry's refusal to take questions from the boys on the bus:
Television sandwiches 90 seconds of political coverage between footage of bent-over palm trees, ravaged beach houses and rowboats traversing main streets; Dan Rather's boo-boos; and the latest Iraqi car bombing and/or hostage-beheading. Just where news of "the most important election in our lifetime" appears depends on the day's accusation. But as a rule of thumb: the more outrageous, the higher up.

  1. The BBC had a similar talisman in Alastair Cooke - who various apparatchiks had been trying to oust from his weekly 15 minute radio slot for around three decades before he popped his clogs earlier this year.


CBS recruiters wishing to avoid future monkey business should note that veteran news anchor J Fred Muggs is available (January 21).

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