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Open Mike - Broadcasting & Cable

Open Mike

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The Bottom Line on 'Nightline'

Editor: Regarding your article “'Nightline' a Go Go” [The Robins Report, 3/14, page 3]: There is no question that much of TV news has gone to the dark side, i.e. entertainment. As a former TV anchor and news editor, I am discouraged to see the highest standards of journalism ignored and “rip-and-read radio” on TV news. PBS does a better job.

This should be no surprise to anyone. Business runs TV news today. It makes money, so why shouldn't the pencil-pushers dictate who is on the air? I nearly puked when Peter Jennings offered “congratulations” to the new CEO at Disney on ABC's World News Tonight!

Frank Magid be damned! “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Right on, Pogo!

Bill Wippel

Normandy Park, Wash.

Journalists Don't Challenge Bush

Editor: As a journalist, I understand how the corporate parents of these organizations can influence coverage of various events [“Tough Talk on the First Amendment,” 3/14, page 30]. I have a harder time accepting why the media—particularly the White House press corps—has grown so compliant in this administration's campaign of confusion and disinformation. It's one reason why no one trusts the mainstream media anymore.

One way for the media to get through to the Bushites is to wait for one of the president's few press conferences—in particular, one for a pet project like Social Security—and stage a boycott. It gives me a warm glow to think of the briefing room completely empty, save the folks from “Talon” and Fox. It seems to me a sure way for the Fourth Estate to actually regain some of its cojones. Sometimes, they act like Democrats, for God's sake. It's embarrassing.

Brian Clark (received via e-mail)

Editor: NBC News President Neal Shapiro says it's time to “sound the alarm.” (“Tough Talk on the First Amendment”) Why have I seen no coverage of this event on TV? Many news people from all major networks were present.

If [networks] are under fire from the government, use the networks to let the American people know about it.

David Hitchen (received via e-mail)

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