Monday, June 04, 2007

i do not think that word means what you think it means

Is Katie Couric struggling in the ratings because she's a woman?


Katie Couric is struggling in the ratings because her newscast is unwatchable. Instead of blaming the sexism of the great unwashed American public (although that's usually a good go-to position), perhaps news producers should look in the mirror. Who took all the hard news out of the news? Who decided that Paris Hilton was a worthy subject for a feature on a "news" show? Who chose to "investigate" issues by putting up a shouting head from either side of a debate, regardless of the merits of their positions? Who then gives those shouting fools ninety seconds of air time before declaring the issue at hand "explored?"

Look at Brian Williams on NBC. His ratings are dropping like a stone down a well. Why?

I have a theory. Whenever Williams is on The Daily Show he comes across as a smart, funny, acerbic fellow with a quick, sarcastic sense of humor. He's more than capable of laughing at himself and he often makes interesting points with Jon Stewart.

Now watch Williams on The NBC Nightly News. What do you see? A stiff, smug prick. Why? Because someone, somewhere, decided that Williams' personality (the one you see on TDS) might drive away potential viewers. With no thought for how an anchor with some real personality might attract viewers, Williams has fallen into "serious anchor" mode. Stripped of his intelligence and excellent free-lance verbal skills, he becomes stiffer than Liberace watching Stone Phillips. The prevailing assumption, that bland is the way to go, that viewers want only the most tepid, vanilla-wafer presentation of the news, actually drives away the very folks most likely to become faithful news viewers.

And Katie Couric is sinking in the ratings because, like Brian Williams, she looks at people who are thirsty and decides that what they really want to drink is a bucket of warm piss.

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