Freedom Of Speech (Jerry Springer) Essay, Research Paper
Credibility in “the 10 o’clock news” (you know, that quaint, old-fashioned
method of attempting to summarize noteworthy events of the day via the
cathode-ray delivery system) has been on trial of late in Chicago.
The brouhaha began when bosses at the local NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV announced plans to have daytime yakker Jerry Springer (the youngest mayor in the history of Cincinatti, doncha know) deliver personal editorials, or “commentaries,” several days a week. It’s important to note that the handshake deal was to be only for the month of May 1997, with subsequent arrangments to made after that. The anchors of the 10 p.m. news, Ron Magers and Carol Marin, protested the decision, and Marin put her money where her mouth was, quitting her estimated $1 million a year job.
Carol Marin had her say.
Jerry Springer will have his.
So why does everyone feel so bad?
Marin is a popular figure in Chicago media; she started as a reporter at WMAQ-TV 19 years ago, and is a highly-regarded journalist. The fact that she has, at least temporarily, abandoned her supporters will not
endear them to Springer, whose “oh, who are we kidding here, letting news readers dictate who is allowed to be on the air and who isn’t” attitude appears to strengthen Marin’s argument that TV news is
little more than a circus sideshow.
Springer may be a sanctimonious doughboy, but he’s not the antichrist. In fact, he’s actually a prettybright guy and can be moderately entertaining. He may do a great job on the commentaries. But you do
have to wonder about the people who made the decision to pollute their credible, popular mix of news,weather and sports, with the views of a guy who has spent the last few years probing the tawdry lives of
every dysfunctional male and female type imaginable.
While Marin can’t really be blamed for walking, her action — which effectively judges the direction of journalism in general — is ultimately futile. Of course, she is free to align herself with another journalist icendeavor with higher standards — if she can locate one. But it won’t restore credibility to WMAQ-TV’s
news product; the bosses will have to live with their decision to let Marin walk in favor of whatever it is they think Springer brings to the ratings party. And it won’t change the way TV news operations are run, like information chop-shops that cram as many riveting images as possible into the allotted time.
Every once in a while, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, translate into freedom to make aprofit. The paying customer can only make a difference by finding the remote, and clicking OFF.