03 April 2012

WAPO Nails it, NBC Tape Edit Distortion Apology Absolution

Goodness, NBC investigation completed, and, guess what, half an apology ensues. See it here:  NBC Apologizes (kind of) for deliberate tape distortion

Hey, newspeople, the first lesson you should have learned about reporting are the 5 W's: Who, What, Where, When, and WHY! So how does your investigation reporting fulfill the basic requirements of journalism?

Who? Fail! Not even a job title.
What? "production process error" Nope, too vague.
Where? Not even a continent named.
When? Sometime in the production process, between getting the tape and airing it.
Why? No explanation at all.

When will they ever learn?

Someone, a person, or human being, edited the tape, or was directed to edit the tape by someone, a human being, and specifically edited out portions of the sound track, in a studio located possibly located in an NBC production office, before the program lineup review by the production staff, most likely either to reinforce an editorial position of the production staff, or simply to titillate viewers and drive ratings. Of course, I am just guessing, based on just a bit of knowledge and experience in the broadcast industry, working for a reputable group.

A sad day indeed, to consider the present state of this once great broadcast media. I wonder what David Sarnoff would say today.
David Sarnoff   He did formulate Sarnoff's Law -  which states that the value of a broadcast network is proportional to the number of viewers. And he did say that "Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people". But he also demanded truth and accuracy in the news, tolerated no overt or covert agenda in broadcast journalism on his network, then delivered the best news broadcast of the day. 

I guess there is a reason many of us fondly recall the golden years of Television.

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