news and markets continued

Friday, July 30th, 2004

Here’s a portion of the Nightline transcript via Lexis. The speakers are Koppel and Stewart

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) Different group of people, different narrative. That’s the slice, so what I’m trying to get to here is, what is going on that is different now with these literally, I don’t think it’s even hundreds anymore, there are maybe close to a thousand outlets here.

JON STEWART

It’s that, the partisan mobilization has become a part of the media process. That they’ve realized that, this real estate that you possess, television, is the most valuable real estate known to rulers. If Alexander the Great had TV, believe me, he would have had his spin guys dealing, you know, Napoleon would have had people working. The key to leadership is to have that mouthpiece to the people, and that’s what, and that’s what this is. You guys are, this is a battle for the airwaves. And that’s what we watch, and that’s what’s so, I think, dispiriting, to those at home, who believe that, I think, there’s a sense here that you’re not participating in that battle and there’s a sense at home watching it of you’re absolutely participating and complicit in that battle, in the sense of this.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) Go a little further, go a little further on that.

JON STEWART

I’m a news anchor. Remember, this is bizarro world. And I say, the issue is healthcare. And insurance, and why 40 million American kids don’t have insurance, 40 million Americans are uninsured. Is this health insurance program being debated in Congress good for the country? Let’s debate it. I have with me Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan. Let’s go. Donna. I think the Democrats really have it right here. I think that this is a, a pain to the insurance companies and to the drug companies and I think it’s wrong for America. Bay. Oh, no, no, no. That’s incorrect. What it is is, and then she throws out her figures from the Heritage Foundation and she throws her figures from the Brookings Institute, and the anchor, who should be the arbiter of the truth says, thank you both very much. That was really interesting. No, it wasn’t. That was Coke and Pepsi talking about beverage truth. And that, that game is what has, I think, caused people to go, I’m not watching this.

JON STEWART

(Off Camera) All right, so you have found an answer, through humor …

JON STEWART

No. It’s not an answer.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) … no, well, a truth, an answer in the sense that through humor …

JON STEWART

I found an outlet. I found a catharsis, a sneeze, if you will.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) But it’s not just a catharsis for you, it’s a catharsis for your viewers. Those who watch say at least when I’m watching Jon, he can use humor to say, BS. You know, that’s a crock.

JON STEWART

But that’s always been the case. Satire has always been.

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) Okay, but I can’t, I can’t do that.

JON STEWART

No. But you can say that’s BS. You don’t need humor to do it, because you have, what I wish I had. Which is credibility, and gravitas, this is interesting stuff. And it’s all part of the discussion, and I think it’s a good discussion to have, but I also think that it’s important to take a more critical look, you know? Don’t you think?

TED KOPPEL

(Off Camera) No.

The example Stewart uses above is I think interesting and the point he makes at the end of the snip makes good sense. There’s also a sense of the confusing of basic questions: what is news, how should news people distinguish themselves from their guests, and how should they mold their questions for the benefit of a public who needs to know. Part of the context goes to the “purpose” of news as essential to information in a democracy. Satire in its way meets the need for truth gathering and analysis, but in media space where markets are competative, then info and opinion become commodities, and thus that info and opinion must be “styled” to gather and keep an audience. The purpose therefore changes when hundreds of markets are being created: from truth seeking, exposition, analysis to “taste” and “demagoguery.” News space to market space.

Yes, Ted Koppel could do his homework and cut through the BS, but then the liar wouldn’t come back onto the program, yet that would serve us well, I think. From the above it would seem too much to ask.

So much for Neptune’s rings.


5 responses to “news and markets continued”

  1. gibb says:

    Kinda sad, isn’t it. The masks of comedie and tragedie are being worn on the stage of life every day and being passed as “news” when in truth it is merely yet another play.

  2. Maureen says:

    That is the nature of our times..in order to be competitive, legitimate news markets [shows] will not challenge guests [liars]..for they know that particular gues [liar] will not come back…

    This brings to mind “Meet the Press”. Tim Russert does go after the big fish, but to a point. Yes, there is the challenge, but then there is not always a vigorous “follow up”.

    Thus, the public is left with the guest [liar] repeating the same mantra over and over..but no real or new answers…there is no “accountability”…

    Really, many of these shows [Meet the Press, Nightline, etc.] are where the guests [liars, politicians, etc.] go to do “damage control”. [To alter public “image”, though not necessarily restore public trust.

    Most Graciously,

    Maureen
    *A Mayde in her own little woode….

  3. Beverly says:

    I know I am steering away from the convention, but I can’t help think of what kind of publicity Martha Stewart will get after she serves her prison sentence. I emphasize on her publicity when I picture her on Nightline soon after being released from prison, leaving the viewer with an image of her doing no wrong. Maybe she’ll even get a staunch position in politics after appearing on a few shows.

  4. Neha says:

    Hey…waitaminit…Neptune’s rings??

  5. Maureen says:

    Well, Martha does seem confident..that her prison time will not affect her standing at Martha Steward Omnimedia….After leaving the courthouse..she was still promoting her book, catalog, etc…Talk about a saleswoman…

    Most Graciously,

    Maureen
    *A mayde in her own little woode…