Saturday, August 11, 2007

Emily Rooney's Beating of the Press

For your own protection.

The self-love evident on Emily Rooney's Beat the Press tonight was really one for the ages - it was as if she and her panel were mutually masturbating basking in the glory of her media, cameras and unwarranted, yet dim, spotlight. The show's first segment focused on all the Democratic Presidential debates as of late, especially the HRC/LOGO presidential forum. Frantically stroking her ego, she went up and down the panel complaining there weren't any mainstream media institutions involved (apparently, a national cable station isn't mainstream enough), so the media wouldn't cover it. Apparently, in true blame-the-victim fashion, it's Logo's fault the media will ignore the gay network. Then, before the climax, she complains that a lack of a connection to a paper like the Globe and Herald hurt it. Honey, no one cares about either of our paper's in LA, D.C. or Houston. Heck, I don't know if anyone cares outside the WGBH Greater Boston studio. Oh, and pooh-pooh on HRC for letting someone outside the media ask questions, even if Melissa Ethridge asked the only one that made it to the mainstream press (leading to Bill Richardson's meltdown).

Not only that, but before and after Rooney went on her ignorant rampage against such pesky things as more access to candidates, she admitted she didn't even see the debate. You see, she flipped through, but could not find, Logo on her "800 channels." I guess was a bit tricky for her old, wiley ways.

Of course, none of this should be shocking to those who watch Beat the Press (just me?). The panel rarely, if ever, seems to actually criticize the media. Don't get me wrong, they chat about whether or not stations should use helicopters or if there are too many debates - but you'd think a local WGBH production would actually focus on the nuts-and-bolts of what's wrong with particular localized stories. No, we get the PBS version of Cable News: it may not be on Lindsey Lohan, but it really isn't any more informative. They'll look at the things you can figure out on your own and often focus on the issues that are already front and center (or ones that aren't even relevant), instead of attending to the show's purpose of analyzing Greater Boston's media (why else bring on local experts?). Given the fact that all of the panel members are a part of the Greater Boston social media network, I guess no one should be surprised - can't hurt any of our friends' feelings, you know.

Yesterday's show was a case in point. One of the panel members was talking about how he detested these forums because they're all 30 second blurbs. However, the HRC debate was anything but a back and forth blurb-fest: each candidate spoke for 15 minutes, separate from the other candidates. Logo's debate was unique and - in my opinion - rather refreshing for a Presidential forum. It gave a spotlight for rare nuance and the freedom to posit thoughts without fear of Hillary instantly putting words in your mouth before they could be properly explained. Instead of rewarding who can talk the loudest and lie the most, HRC's debate actually allowed for some of the candidates' real thoughts to peek out.

Except, no one on yesterday's Beat the Press mentioned just how HRC's debate was set up (in all likelihood, because none of them watched it), though that didn't stop them from criticizing it for its 30 second non-existent spats anyway. The panel didn't even discuss what happened during the debate, piecing the story together in their criticism, but were quick to make a few key - and unexplained - allusions. Anyone finding a problem with any of this? They just blasted all of these forums without even talking about the specifics of why they are so bad.

There's rarely anything analytical about Beat the Press at all: Rooney keys in on the big picture, but avoids the information necessary to view it with any sort of clarity - such as taking a deep and serious look at these debates and what value they give society. Beat the Press pretends to be a show about media criticism and one that is above the fray of what plagues cable news, but it basks in the same stained light that distorts the very news panelists pretend to discuss.

For the past two or three weeks, I've been tuning into Beat the Press late Friday nights. They come up on On Demand very quickly and I watch it before I hit the sack. Each week, I'm thoroughly disappointed by the severe lack of media criticism; it may as well be hosted by Judy Miller. It's more like a show to defend a soft and thoroughly beaten, destroyed and hoodwinked media than something meant to better inform the public. Yet, Rooney and her guests all love it. They all love their medium, so much so that Beat the Press is more pornographic than either critical or introspective. Lets see more shows on WGBH of a Bill Moyer caliber rather than the turd-like Beat the Press, perhaps even worse (which is hard to do) than the show it tries so hard to emulate at the local level, despite the anything-but ironic two-letter difference in name. Unless, of course, Rooney has a change of heart and saves wyanking our chains for the privacy of her bedroom at home.


Tom Lang said...

I am afraid that Emily Rooney is getting a taste of the great conservative media sell-out. Ryan have you noticed that Emily gives a weekly report now on 96.9 Talk Radio Host (and ass) Jay Severin's show?

It is just disgusting listening to that weekly love fest between the two of them. Severin is repulsive and Rooney should not lower herself--but then again, maybe whe is already low...

Ryan Adams said...

You're kidding? Being willing to go on Severin's show on a weekly basis, to me, show's where she's at.

Mass Marrier said...

I don't know wry Ry. You want to go to sleep with images of Emily as your sugar plums. Maybe you lived in dorms too long.

I still bear the internal tattoos of years of journalism school followed by newspapers and magazines. Part of me wants what Emily the Roo imagines to be true.

Yet, there are too many news readers, to use the accurate BBC term, too many FOX and CNN clowns, and too many tabloid frauds about. Emily wants us to believe that all reporters are brilliant and honorable, insightful and wise. After she can convince me she is, I'll be willing to entertain the thought.

She never seems to be able to wrap her flaccid arms and equally asthenic mind around big topics. Where are the core questions? Where is the line of reasoning that cuts to the key concepts?

What was that another pretentious Emily wrote?:
THE BONE that has no marrow;
What ultimate for that?
It is not fit for table,
For beggar, or for cat.

markshasha said...

I have to pipe in.

I think Beat the Press is great.

I disagree with Emily often but that is why she has a panel of other voices to add to the discussion. I love Crosley, and Joe Sciacca and I miss Jerkowitz.

Emily can miss the big issues but there are other redeeming qualities to the show.

It is one of my favorite shows. Emily is the only person doing a show like this in New England and I appreciate it each week.

carry on..

Anonymous said...

Crosley is the quintessence of fascist smugness of the left.

About Ryan's Take