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Ask A TV Critic: Eric Deggans

Even if you looked at Ed Bradley's recent report on the Duke rape case -- he took that thing apart in a way that no journalist had done before, and basically made it possible for those boys to finally see some justice. Ed Bradley made it okay for other journalists to say, "You know, maybe this woman is full of it. Maybe this prosecutor really has lied." Because people who were covering it knew that, if those boys were right, the extent to which the prosecutor had to be lying was just incredible, and now we know that that's exactly what happened. And it took Ed Bradley to do that. I mean, thank God, you know -- but would Dateline NBC have done that? Would 20/20 have done that, would 48 Hrs. have done that?

Sars: Do you think that's something that's less...present in TV news now, that now TV news is less about actually uncovering the story and more about the marketing aspects and the demographics of the anchor and all the dire predictions that the evening news hour is dying?

Deggans: Well, I'm not like people who think that there was some great golden age where we could look back at Cronkite or look back to whomever and they did it right, and these guys are doing it wrong. I just think there's different pitfalls. The TV news of the Cronkite era was heavily weighted towards white guys in ties. The great part of it was that they took their journalism very seriously; nobody expected those broadcasts to make money, it was all about serving the public and trying to tell them what was important in the world, which is great, but it was not very pop-culture-savvy, it was not very youth-savvy, it was not very people-of-color-savvy, it wasn't even particularly women-savvy, so a lot of things that should have been covered probably didn't get covered, or got covered in a way that didn't serve the subject well.

Now, we're in a world where substance is hard to come by, and part of it is that people don't have time, part of it is that there's been layoffs after layoffs after layoffs of news divisions and there's not personnel, part of it is that people are afraid that people won't watch it.

Sars: Do you think that Miles Davis would get asked today -- do you think there's anyone who would ask Miles Davis, "Do you hate white people?", and do you think Miles Davis would be sort of handled or minded by someone into not answering? ...I mean, what did he say? I actually don't know what he said.

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Ask A TV Critic: Eric Deggans

Even if you looked at Ed Bradley's recent report on the Duke rape case -- he took that thing apart in a way that no journalist had done before, and basically made it possible for those boys to finally see some justice. Ed Bradley made it okay for other journalists to say, "You know, maybe this woman is full of it. Maybe this prosecutor really has lied." Because people who were covering it knew that, if those boys were right, the extent to which the prosecutor had to be lying was just incredible, and now we know that that's exactly what happened. And it took Ed Bradley to do that. I mean, thank God, you know -- but would Dateline NBC have done that? Would 20/20 have done that, would 48 Hrs. have done that?

Sars: Do you think that's something that's less...present in TV news now, that now TV news is less about actually uncovering the story and more about the marketing aspects and the demographics of the anchor and all the dire predictions that the evening news hour is dying?

Deggans: Well, I'm not like people who think that there was some great golden age where we could look back at Cronkite or look back to whomever and they did it right, and these guys are doing it wrong. I just think there's different pitfalls. The TV news of the Cronkite era was heavily weighted towards white guys in ties. The great part of it was that they took their journalism very seriously; nobody expected those broadcasts to make money, it was all about serving the public and trying to tell them what was important in the world, which is great, but it was not very pop-culture-savvy, it was not very youth-savvy, it was not very people-of-color-savvy, it wasn't even particularly women-savvy, so a lot of things that should have been covered probably didn't get covered, or got covered in a way that didn't serve the subject well.

Now, we're in a world where substance is hard to come by, and part of it is that people don't have time, part of it is that there's been layoffs after layoffs after layoffs of news divisions and there's not personnel, part of it is that people are afraid that people won't watch it.

Sars: Do you think that Miles Davis would get asked today -- do you think there's anyone who would ask Miles Davis, "Do you hate white people?", and do you think Miles Davis would be sort of handled or minded by someone into not answering? ...I mean, what did he say? I actually don't know what he said.

Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10Next

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