Monday, January 09, 2006

# Posted 11:10 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WOULD TED KOPPEL HAVE BEEN SO INTERESTED IN DEFECATION? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Just a few short months ago, Nightline was a flagship of quality journalism. Then Ted Koppel retired and ABC handed over the reins to Terry Moran, Cynthia McFadden and Martin Bashir.

I like Moran quite a bit and McFadden is competent. But Bashir represents the worst sort of infotainment. Bashir's official biography describes him as an "international acclaimed, award-winning journalists" and goes on to note that his greatest achievement was a recent documentary about Michael Jackson that resulted in a sex crimes investigation. Is this how Ted Koppel is repaid for endowing nightline with a sense of dignity and seriousness?

What forced me to write about Bashir was an interview with Howard Stern broadcast on the January 6 edition of Nightline. (There is a video clip available here, and a podcast in the usual location.) Now, I don't think that the decision to interview Stern is inherently a bad one. Few individuals have the same kind of impact Stern does on American popular culture. In fact, I find his show very entertaining.

But instead of approaching Stern as a subject of social interest, all Bashir really did was get him to say naughty things on camera, a good number of them involving defecation. Bashir didn't talk to any of Stern's critics at the FCC or on the religious. In fact, he didn't even talk to any of Stern's fans to find out why the man is so wildly popular.

One point Stern kept making in the interview, and with which I agree, is that the bedrock of his appeal is his fundamental honesty. He hides nothing about himself. He has no pretensions. It's an example Bashir might want to follow, instead of posing as a serious journalist.
(2) opinions -- Add your opinion

The new nightline is shit. It might as well be dateline. At least Koppel is moving to the discovery channel.
I'm with you on this one.
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