I've been hearing some grumbling from my journalist colleagues about John Kerry (search) going on the David Letterman show, just like I did when Kerry popped up on Jon Stewart's Comedy Central (search) and “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.
I have no problem with these venues. I find them very revealing. Besides, they're un-predictable. Sure there are some canned lines in there, but please don't tell me you don't hear a lot of that in "serious" interviews!
Let me tell you something, we TV anchors have no license on information, serious or otherwise. We can dispatch the news to you, but that doesn't mean you have to catch the news from us. No longer can we spoon-feed you, just what we want and only when we want to. Dan Rather and CBS (search) have come to that conclusion in a whole new age of bloggers who rightly questioned the information force-fed them and the accuracy of the documents on which it was force-fed.
I'm not damning my profession. I am asking it to wake the hell up and — at the same time — to lighten up. To recognize, that for many people, where they get their news isn't the issue, just that they get it. And if it's on a comedy show, or talk show, or even irreverent show, I say, so be it.
Some say we've trashed the process. I like to think we've invigorated it.
And I'll tell you what, I got a heck of a lot more out of listening to the president's father on Don Imus than hearing him parry the same, old predictable boring queries from so-called "real journalists." Or when Tom Daschle did the weather with our own Steve Doocy on “FOX & Friends.” In these venues, interviewees let their guard down and the viewing interest up.
My colleagues — myself included — would all be wise to learn something from that: We are not the center of the universe. That's not me saying that.
Sadly, that's our viewers telling us that.
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