Critics, Williams, Simon & Stewart

I’m not going to name names here, because I don’t want to promote their dreck – but there are a number of ink-stained numbskulls working overtime pounding-out the same anti-TV vitriol on their Underwoods regarding the Brian Williams debacle.

Print-based TV columnists and critics are just about extinct. Newspapers used them for years trying to kill TV, but it didn’t work – so most became victims of the massive layoffs that have plagued the newspaper business for years.

These by-the-way are the same idiots who will write the “Anchor Away” headline, and pat themselves on the back for it.

As you read their pieces, you can see that they try to hide behind a few wise pronouncements about ethics and standards for a while, but as you move down the page – you can’t help but see the old resentments come out in the form of their usual, and tired, complaints: TV anchors get paid too much. They promote too much. They’re “stars.” TV is at its heart an entertainment medium and not serious journalism. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What a collection of jack-holes. I’m sorry they couldn’t get a date in high school, that they toil in relative anonymity, that they aren’t paid enough, and that most of their work isn’t seen by anybody under 60.60 MINUTES

Enlightened people “from print” know that newspapers aren’t going to save themselves by knocking down TV. Again, they tried it all through the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s – and it didn’t work.¬†TV is perfectly capable of destroying itself thank you.

Frankly, the best people in print today understand that the most relevant ideas revolve around a convergence of media and that print and video-based-storytelling should be complimentary. Another cadre of nitwits (i.e. beancounters) killed the TV/Newspaper combo business model in the 90s, but that was because “unlocking shareholder value” was what was most important – not because it was a bad idea.

And let’s remember, the best reporting comes from traditional print outlets, and those few who continue to employ critics who are nothing more than jealous haters are embarrassing themselves. Are print reporters better people, closer to God and smarter than their broadcast brethren? No. The simple truth is that reporting for print is about reporting. Reporting for broadcast is about overcoming logistics, and then trying to squeeze in a little reporting. It’s that simple.

Can broadcast journalism be criticized? Hell yes. I do it on this little blog and there is plenty to criticize. But to do so in service to a passion degrade or destroy in order to somehow elevate yourself is just pathetic.

So while you watch dope-stick print columnists and ex-industry pontificators¬†co-indict every journalist on television in the Brian Williams case, it’s important to know that for every Brian Williams out there, there are more Bob Simons’.

Sure, sure – they may not be national stars, but they are people who care about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. People, in any medium, who start every project with a blank piece of paper instead of somebody else’s work to riff off of. People who understand that real reporters are held to a higher standard because they’re trusted to do higher level work. People who care about improving the level of civic dialog and advancing the cause of Democracy. People who don’t go into something with a hidden agenda, but have a real curiosity about things, a desire to be involved in history, and a passion to make a complex world understandable. Sound high minded? Yep. It is. Deal.

John Stewart

While we’re at it – Jon Stewart’s departure comes as a huge disappointment to many.

He is a comic genius to be sure and he played an important role as a commentator, social critic and observer – but he’s not a reporter. We didn’t have to trust him to laugh at him. In fact, the only way to really laugh at him was to really understand the news – which of course, is generated by real reporters.

Stewart, through no fault of his own, was not accountable for anything he did because he could always shrug his shoulders and say, “It’s a comedy show man – lighten up.” There is no real responsibility that goes along with being a Jon Stewart, or a TV critic, or a blogger. We all just riff off of real work. I know that. Stewart also says that frequently.

There is no standards-and-practices manual for media columnists, comedians or bloggers. The legal liabilities associated with doing comedy or satire are zero. Nobody kills himself, loses a job, beats his spouse, or loses a business or a reputation if they revealed, exposed, or aren’t portrayed fairly in a comedy sketch.

Grieving parents don’t throw things at comedians and bloggers. Angry neighbors don’t turn hoses on, or threaten to kill TV critics. Columnists don’t knock on the doors of suspects late at night. Pontificators don’t see dead bodies and beaten children. Observers don’t get assaulted at riots, robbed on live shots, killed in helicopter crashes, raped on the streets of Egypt, killed by ISIS or breath toxic fumes from a nearby chemical leak.

Real reporters face all of those things, including the physical and emotional risks that go along with being on the streets or on the battlefield- no matter the medium.

No matter the medium.