Two Cents - Broadcasting & Cable

Two Cents

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Gladly, the cross-eyed bear*
The limitations of real-time captioning were apparent last week when the networks aired the tape of the Dec. 11 Supreme Court oral arguments. Following is what the justices said (at least to our ears), followed by what the captioner wrote:

What Justices said: What captioners wrote:

*A child's mis-hearing of the hymn "Gladly the Cross I'd Bear"

"New law" "little wrong" "Hypothesize" "hype position size" "canvassing board" "van causing board" "machine issue" "minish you" "approximately" "exactly"

"Somehow, I have a feeling I will not miss the big bang, whenever it comes. I may not see it the second it happens, but soon enough I will learn who my new president is and how he came to office. Maybe I'll find out from the Discovery Channel when its cameras capture President Whoever paying a visit to Mei Xiang and Tian Tian at the National Zoo."

-Debra Mathis, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, about trying to break her "Election Without End" viewing habit.

"You want a thoughtful, respectful exchange of ideas? Watch Ted Koppel. You want reasoned, probing analysis? Read a book. If pugnacious and kinetic and confrontational are more like it, O'Reilly's your man."

-Paul Farhi, a Washingston Post reporter, on Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, host of The Bill O'Reilly Factor

"You can't duplicate this [program] because you can't duplicate someone as obnoxious as me."

-O'Reilly to Farhi, on rival networks possibly fashioning their own versions of his show.

"The award for best live journalism performance in a surreal situation goes jointly to Dan Abrams of NBC and Jeffrey Toobin of ABC for their on-air skimming and analysis of the Supreme Court's ridiculously convoluted decision outside the Court last night..Abrams and Toobin both went to law school, and it showed."

-Steven Brill, CEO and chairman, Brill's Content magazine, on Contentville.com, the day after the Supreme Court decision.

"If he is Mr. Micawber, then Elton John is your next Tarzan. Putting him in the midst of Charles Dickens' timeless tale of woe and more woe is akin to inviting Marilyn Manson to afternoon tea with the queen. Nothing good will come of it."

-Ed Bark, Dallas Morning News, on former Seinfeld actor Michael Richards' performance in Charles Dickens' David Copperfield on TNT.

"And flitting through the hospital hallways and tangled subplots, mascara-smeared from all her sobbing, is Sally Field, midway through a six-episode story arc that could be titled 'Gimme That Emmy!'"

-Phil Kloer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, describing the soap-opera characters in what he calls "As the Gurney Turns", better known as NBC's ER.

"She has yet to prove herself with an audience half of whom don't believe in Santa Claus."

-an unnamed former associate of Oxygen President and CEO Geraldine Laybourne, suggesting she may have a hard time duplicating her success at Nickelodeon. From the January edition of Vanity Fair.

"Any image that can make America look like it's going to hell in a handbasket will find its way onto the 6 o'clock news. Absolutely anything that can be done to make George W. Bush and the Republican Party look like evil incarnate will be disseminated with gusto. Mucho gusto."

-N.Y. Post's Arnold Ahlert's forecast of liberal smear campaigns in Bush era, and eagerness of press to help.

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