As seen on tv

Nobody makes the news like newspeople. ABC chief anchor George Stephanopoulos gave $75,000 over a three-year period to the Clinton Foundation and we are supposed to care because he used to work for Bill in the 1990s. Is his credibility suspect all this time later when he reports on Clinton matters?

NBC bingo caller Brian Williams lied about his participation in a war-zone event and is off the air for six months. Vanity Fair hired ace writer Bryan Burrough to dig into the matter in the current issue. Most of those quoted in the article are not named, a possibility not usually offered in such numbers to ordinary folk, but newspeople get a break when they talk about their own. Comcast, owners of NBC Universal, is blamed. One of those in charge had, gasp, no experience in journalism. For a journalist writing about another journalist, that’s the biggest sin of all.

Williams comes off as an egomaniac (surprise) who was poorly managed by those on top. The thesis is that Williams would be a lot happier if he moved to CNN and became the replacement they never found for Larry King. In Canada, we’ve had similar imbroglios recently over CBC personalities Peter Mansbridge and Amanda Lang taking money for giving speeches in their spare time.

The trouble with all of this is that the newspeople are getting in the way of the news. We’ve elevated journalists, particularly broadcasters, beyond their merit level. I pine for the days of Knowlton Nash and David Brinkley when newsreaders and journalists were just a bunch of people doing their jobs.

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