Monday, January 24, 2005

Q: Is it possible to know tomorrow's news today?

A: Yes, if you are NBC.

Sunday night I was imitating a turnip by watching TV. I was channel surfing when I came across a commercial on NBC promoting Brian Williams and the NBC Nightly News. The advertisement gave previews of tomorrow’s news, focusing on the difficulties of "our fighting forces in Iraq."

I said to myself, how can NBC know what will be tomorrow's news today? I thought the purpose of the daily news was to report important, up to date information. I thought that with only 22 minutes of broadcast time allotted to the program, the powers that be at NBC would determine what was to be broadcast as close to air time as possible.

I was wrong on two counts, I guess. First, I was mistaken to think that NBC News was in the business of the dissemination of important, relevant, time sensitive information. The second mistake was that I assumed that NBC News determined the news worthiness of broadcast content that was in some way akin to impartial journalism.

In a way I miss the old time propaganda when Walter Cronkite would get on the air, talk about the recent activities of "the enemy", deliver the daily fictitious body count and then move onto some story that had to do with LBJ and dog ears.

In the old days it seemed as if The Media was a State stooge, only competent to deliver propaganda. Now it seems to be a commissar, determining, creating and encouraging propaganda.

Ouch! Seems that I have to go back and rethink this whole notion of a Free Society.

This thinking business is hard and the rewards are not always what they are cracked up to be.


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