Condensed network news: a trend?

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Jun 26 19:18:18 UTC 2001

Tell the Lehrer Newshout people to interview George Stephanopoulos.  In his
book _All Too Human: A Political Education_ he gives a candid description of
the mechanics of White House press conferences and how they have become
sound-byte generators.

For a comparison with modern practice, read _Thank You Mr. President_ by
Merriman Smith, published in 1946, which contains descriptions of press
conferences in the period 1941-45.  Smith, incidentally, had a horrid fate
for a journalist---he committed suicide, and all the news reports claimed it
was an accident.

Howard Kurtz wrote "Spin Cycle: Inside the Clinton Propaganda Machine" in
1998.  It's been a while since I read it, but it may have something to say on
this topic.

I don't know if the magazine _Brill's Content" ever had anything worthwhile
to say, but they might check it.

An odd source on this topics is news reports and books that mention General
Schwartzkopf's press conferences during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  A
lot of journalists got all bent out of shape when they discovered that
Schwartzkopf was a master at running press conferences.  US military
officers, of course, are required to say all sorts of dumb things in press
briefings so that journalists can commentate all over them with hob-nailed


For precise information on how long news reports are and were, the Lehrer
people should get transcripts of current news shows and ones 5, 10, 20 etc.
years ago.  If the networks won't supply transcripts, then tapes of actual
news shows, perhaps back to the 1950's, can be found at the Museum of
Television and Radio, 25 West 52nd Street, New York squared 10019.,

         - Jim Landau

More information about the Ads-l mailing list