A new anti-Semitism
: I’m watching a most frightening Scarborough Country with guest hotheadhost Pat Buchanan as he and most of his guests attack Hollywood for not bowing down to Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic Passion of the Christ because — in the words of William Donohue of the Catholic League — “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews.” Buchanan doesn’t scold him but instead talks about how good movies 50 years ago were mde by “Jewish folks.” The only — the token — Jew on the show is Rabbi Smuley Boteach, who replies to Buchanan’s talk about how the Oscars will surely honor Michael Moore and not Mel Gibson and says that Moore and Gibson commit the same sin: “they both whitewash tyrants.” The attacks on “the Jews” continue until another guest starts attacking homosexuals. Scary people. Scary show.
Media on media
: Just got a call to be on Anderson Cooper’s show tonight to talk about the FCC.
: I ended up on the same Continental flight from Newark to Washington with Sen. Frank Lautenberg. When you fly to D.C., you are not allowed to stand up in the last half-hour of the flight, and so the Senator took a pitstop in the back before we took off.
“At my age and in my profession,” the senator said, “you never pass up a men’s room.”
: At National Airport’s newsstands, they’re selling Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers and souvenir notepads for 75 percent off.
: At The Week’s event yesterday, I was lucky to sit next to Garrick Utley, legendary NBC News correspondent, and Myron Kandel of CNN. They need no introductions. I introduce myself as an internet exec and also a blogger.
So Utley asks what impact blogs are having on big media. I stick in the sound cart you’ll expect me to play: I say that they are turning news into a conversation. And he grabs onto that like a dog on a steak: He says he gave a commentary after the ’92 election that said that politics is forever changed into a new kind of conversation.
We talked about how it’s too bad there are no commentaries from network anchors anymore (or I said that because I think it’s part of meeting the need for transparency).
Utley talked about his father’s career in radio, which used to be filled with commentary: They read the news and then they told you what they thought about it, from one side or the other. Talk radio today is no different, he said, only they talk longer.
I asked about the fate of network news. Utley said the jig was up a decade ago.
I asked what they’d advise students trying to go into journalism today. They each shrugged, regretfully. Utley wondered whether anyone could make a living in this new medium (and you can guess the other sound cart I played on that topic).
Here’s the point: Utley (whom I spoke with more than with Kandel) really gets it. He is, in all sense of the word, an old media guy. But he gets it. Even from a brief conversation at a crowded table, it’s clear that he understands exactly where the news business is today. And well he should; he has seen it all and done it all.
It made me once again want to get big media and citizens’ media people together to see that the other guys are smart and care.