September 06, 2005

The Hurricane on TV

This weekend was the first time I ever really sat down and watched large amounts of the televised hurricane coverage. Just unbelievable devastation, and it's beyond terrible that such a thing could be happening in our country. A few observations:

- I was out to dinner Friday night when a friend called to alert me about the Kanye West telethon outburst. Now yes, Kanye has the right to be critical, and I am a big fan of his music. But the meme that "Bush delayed action because he hates black people"? Come on. And while there's nothing wrong with someone chosing to be critical of the commander-in-chief, a televised charity event is not the time or place- how many people who were ready to open their checkbooks and donate put them down after hearing what West said?

Still, it was quite funny throughout the weekend to see news anchors and graphic-writers mis-spell and mispronounce "Kanye," as they had clearly never heard of the rapper before Friday.

- The other talked-about hurricane event of the weekend was the outbursts by Shepard Smith and Geraldo Rivera, reporting live from New Orleans, with Rivera crying on the air and Smith getting into an argument with Sean Hannity about the need for "perspective." Now some called this a watershed moment, as two reporters stood up to cable news' biggest partisan hack, but really the arguments had nothing to do with Bush. And while Smith's outburst was a truly great TV moment, Geraldo's was nothing but the shallow grandstanding that he's been known for throughout his career. I mean, he grabbed the nearest baby and asked for a close-up!

- Saturday night, when Chief Justice Rehnquist's death was announced, Fox News stuck with the story for hours and completely ignored any and all New Orleans news. MSNBC and CNN stuck with Katrina continuously throughout the night.

- And finally, the most surreal moment of all occured Saturday afternoon, when MSNBC suddenly featured a satellite interview with... Richard Simmons, who apparently has family in the New Orleans area. And weirdest of all, Simmons conducted the interview wearing his usual sparkling-tank top uniform. Does Richard even own a suit? When he showed up at his agent's office to negotiate his "Sweatin' to the Oldies" deal, did he wear the tank top and shorts too?

Posted by Stephen Silver at September 6, 2005 05:14 PM

"Now some called this a watershed moment, as two reporters stood up to cable news' biggest partisan hack, but really the arguments had nothing to do with Bush."

I absolutely agree they had nothing to do with Bush. In fact, what made Smith's responses to Hannity and Colmes more notable was that it had nothing to do with politics, but was a sheer comment on the reality that Hannity, for some reason, couldn't admit to (as he yammered on about the "images shown earlier on Fox News"). But you're right the moment had nothing to do with Bush.

Reporting unfiltered fact is what journalism should be about. What made the moment is that he was standing up for that.

Posted by: howard at September 6, 2005 05:35 PM

First off BLOGGER,your commentary on this terrible event is as late as FEMA's efforts to helo. Second, Kanye West said Bush doesn't care about black people, not he hates them. Get it write blogger! Adn you call yourself a journalist??? DIE BLOGGERS DIE!!!

Posted by: A at September 7, 2005 12:47 AM
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