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NanceGreggs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-17-07 06:28 PM
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Brian v Vinny
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Brian v Vinny
By Nancy Greggs

In a recent address to NYU journalism students, NBCs Brian Williams bemoaned the fact that his hard-fought climb to the top of his field is now being undermined by "people who have an opinion, a modem, and a bathrobe".

Poor Brian, just another MSM child left behind in a world where the truth has found its internet voice, along with an audience that grows larger with every news cycle.

All of my life, developing credentials to cover my field of work, and now I'm up against a guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx who hasn't left the efficiency apartment in two years.

How appropriate that right off the top, Brian was able to demonstrate his lack of journalistic integrity by presenting his own baseless assumptions as fact.

The truth is that your typical Vinny is an articulate, intelligent reporter; he could be a DC insider with political contacts, or a dogged researcher uncovering the very facts that the MSM deliberately ignores.

In all likelihood, Vinny has a successful career which affords him the time to devote to his avocation. Or maybe his blog has become so popular, it provides an income that keeps Vinnys bathrobe collection as up-to-date as his late-breaking stories.

What really gets Brians goat is the fact that Vinnys ever-widening audience consists of truth-seekers; intelligent, self-motivated people who have a wacky penchant for wanting the facts.

Thats a far cry from Brians followers, bored couch-potatoes who are willing to take his word for things simply because it beats having to exert the necessary energy to change the channel or, heaven forfend, actually think.

Brian just doesnt get it. Day after day, he serves his pre-digested, warmed-over, corporate-endorsed, nutrition-free pablum, and he wonders why the world is beating a path to Vinnys Place, where the news is served pipin hot by a guy who probably doesnt even have a personal manicurist.

Maybe Brian should use his alleged journalistic prowess to do an in-depth report on why Vinnys rise to the top was so inevitable. He just might learn something.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Brian and Vinny is the simple-but-obvious difference between spin and fact. Vinny doesnt have to check with his masters before reporting the news. He doesnt have to weigh telling the truth against the possible impact on his corporate employers lucrative government contracts, nor is he required to couch his reportage in language that certain politicos will find palatable.

Vinny can just call a spade a spade, while Brians rewrite team spends hours determining whether the terms shovel, spoon-like scoop, or soil relocation device will convey the same meaning without ruffling any feathers.

Vinnys biggest advantage is that he doesnt have to make a fool of himself by presenting commentary that the public knows to be utterly ridiculous, and todays top news story was a perfect case in point.

In the aftermath of the shootings at Virginia Tech, Brian had to blather on about how President Bush was once again uniting the nation during a time of tragedy.

Vinny, on the other hand, was free to state the obvious: Bush, whose approval ratings have taken yet another nosedive this week, showed up at VT in a desperate attempt to look like he cares thats the same Bush who wouldnt interrupt his vacation while NOLA was left to drown, the same Bush who continues to send ill-equipped troops to die in Iraq, the same Bush whose corrupt administration is unravelling as we speak.

Vinny just tells it like it is. Brian has to tell it like hes told to tell it all the while knowing that the public agrees with Vinnys view of things. No wonder Brian is so damned touchy on the topic.

And unlike the Brians of the MSM, Vinny has the ability to follow more than one news item at a time. While Brian repeats the same two or three facts of a breaking story like a human tape-loop, Vinny is commenting on a myriad of current happenings, continually updating as new details emerge. By the time Brian is allowed to move on to breaking story number two, its already old news to Vinny, whos covered two dozen additional items while Brian was busy re-reading his lone cue-card for the zillionth time.

Brian has the on-screen graphics, the designer suit, the fashionable coif, the eye-catching set. Vinny only has the truth and a willingness to tell it.

While Vinny has never met a fact he wasnt willing to share, Brian no longer recognizes facts that havent been folded, spindled, stapled and mutilated to the point where they have as much in common with the truth as Brians job has in common with journalism somewhere between zero and nil.

Hopefully, NYU will invite Vinny to address their students next time around, instead of yet another mindless corporate shill, whining about the inherent unfairness of a news-hungry audience that has the audacity to expect him to deliver the real news.

As Brian has so cloyingly stated his case, he has spent his life "developing credentials to cover my field of work". In other words, he has chosen the politically-correct wardrobe, along with the politically-correct delivery, and he has the sponsors to prove it.

The Brians of the world might well ask what the country is coming to when the public demands news media integrity, and refuses to recognize the talent of someone who may not be a journalist, but plays one so well on TV.

Well, as Vinny would say in response, "Maybe what the country is coming to is its senses."

Go figure.

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