Wednesday, August 10, 2005

# Posted 1:05 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

NOT MY GENERATION: I regret the loss of Peter Jennings, a man of great integrity, at an age -- 67 -- which now must be considered terribly young. But I am uncomfortable with the way that the editors of the NYT and WaPo have taken this as an occasion to praise the centralization of the American media and launch not-so-subtle attacks on
"Cable, satellite networks and the vast, chattering online universe [that has] gone far to create a world in which no three men will ever again deliver the news to an entire nation with such Jovian authority."
Well you know what? Jovian authority sucks. Jovian authority is what gave us Jayson Blair and CBS's forged documents about Bush and the National Guard.

But what's really ironic here is that journalists should be the first ones to remind us that Jovian authority sucks. In the crucible of modern American journalism known as Vietnam, correspondents earned their stripes by pulling back the curtain that protected the Jovian authority with which President Johnson and his generals declared the war effort to be a great success.

Then, in the aftermath of Watergate and Vietnam, America found itself in a situation where the network anchormen, and not the president of the United States, enjoyed the benefits of Jovian authority. Unsurprisingly, this imbalance of power is what has led the editors of the Times and the Post, along with the rest of the embattled media, to wax nostalgic for days gone by. The editors of the Times lament that
The audience of people who routinely stop and sit down around dinnertime to see the news is steadily shrinking and swiftly aging. The next generation seems ready to taste the huge buffet of news and mock-news in print and on radio, television and the Internet.
First of all, my parents had a hard and fast rule that the television got turned off before my family sat down for dinner. More importantly, I can't say that I've ever been all that excited about the evening news because it is suprsingly short on content.

If you read a newspaper for 30 minutes (yes, even the NYT), you will learn a heckuva lot more than you would by watching the news. Besides, if you watch the news, you have to spend around a fifth of your time watching commercials.

Understandly, the experience of getting one's news from the same handsome man at 6:30pm every evening for twenty or thirty years generates a certain emotional attachment to the way things were. But frankly, I'm glad that my generation has been liberated from this maudlin tradition and the Jovian authority it generates.
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