Journalism, Part 2 of 2

Steven M. Schwartz is back for the second part of our caustic look at Journalism. “Shrieking harpy” Nancy Grace, terrorist victim Daniel Pearl, Janet Cook, sock-puppets, Network, Transmetropolitan and more!

Music: “It Ain’t Right” by Artie Shaw




22 Responses

  1. Might I recommend looking at the Australian Nancy Grace; Sally Neighbours, currently executive producer for some show on ABC.
    I can personally attest to damages that she has caused to my family.

  2. It sounds like the amusing newsroom sitcom/satire idea is common worldwide. I cannot recommend strongly enough the following:
    A British sitcom called Drop The Dead Donky ( which was just about a tv newsroom, written week to week to include stories and current events of the day.
    Then there’s the very sharp satire of the Aussie series Frontline ( which probably also used a lot of contemporary news and was a newsroom for one of those tabloid current affair shows which I’m sure are everywhere, which show stories to outrage like “Asians taking over the local supermarket!” And “Gay whales bludge on the dole/social services while supporting illegal immigration and claiming workers’ compo!” (We have A Current Affair and Tday Tonight in Australia).
    Both of those are from the 90’s, so a more recent example, following a particular tabloid journalist (acted by Adam Zwar, who was the dog owner in the Australian show Wilfred) called Low Down (, which is very funny in a very wit kind of way (Geoffrey Rush is the narrator and is fantastic! very similar to how Tom Baker of Dr Who fame was the narrator for the Little Britain series).
    Finally (yes, my post will be over soon) is the Australian comedy Stupid Stupid Man (,_Stupid_Man) about a softcore porn mag, which is also hilarious.

    If I had to pick one to push you towards, it’d be Frontline.

    Very interesting pair of episodes, guys. Will have to chase down Network now.

    Btw, have you considered an episode on children, or child criminals? I’d suggest pregnancy but I think that would get you into more trouble than Scientology.


  3. That ‘Nancy Grace Owned!’ video made my day. I am not entirely sure how people like that get their own shows.

  4. Great episode, guys! It really reminded me of the reason I dropped out of the journalism course I started. All I wanted to do was to do science reporting, but journalism here is always either about crime, sports or politics. It’s so rife with bad and/or biased reporting it hurts.

    On more a more interesting note, it might just have been Kevin’s delivery (or maybe the callous cynicism) but Nancy Grace really sounded like Robespierre in her replies to criticism.

    1. Lord knows we could use better science reporting in the media, too. Some of the terrible ‘Research Shows!’ articles that repeat total garbage based on bad science (since the writer didn’t bother to actually read the paper they’re touting as fact nor do they know anything about the subject to even tell if a statement being made is BS) is just embarrassing.

    1. These guys that got killed were part of Hamas, there is a big difference between being a reporter and being part of the propaganda wing of a terrorist organization. One has to take a grain of salt for anything coming from the IFJ.

      1. Maybe this is not the best place to bicker about the Israel-Gaza conflict but I will anyway:

        The relevant facts to me are that they were unarmed civilians, in a car marked “TV” and worked for Al-Aqsa TV when they were destroyed by an Israeli missile.

        I do not believe in killing reporters, even if they work for an anti-semitic television station, or even if they are anti-semitc themselves, something I find detestable.

        There are racists and drone strike advocates who I hate on American television. I don’t think they should be killed.

        The Jerusalem Post seems to have a more “objective” view that still paints a troubling picture.

        1. Are you accusing the Israeli Army of disabling the missile’s “Do Not Attack Automobiles Occupied By Civilians That Have The Word ‘TV’ Written On The Side” sensor?

        2. I really didn’t want to start a debate on the whole Gaza thing either. I was trying to point out that these were not some reporters from CNN or BBC being gunned down because they didn’t like how they were reporting on the conflict. This is a “state” owned and operated media outlet used to spread propaganda for said “state”. Now do we give the employees of a propaganda organ of the “state” the same status and protection we would for independent journalist?

          It should be noted that we are only assuming that they were targeted because of their affiliation with Hamas TV and it could very well be they were targeted because of other activities.

  5. Ummmm, Kevin, did you have a boner during the recording of this episode? (Kevin: “Oh God, that makes my boner go away!”).

    As bad as Nancy Grace is (and she’s downright evil, in my opinion), worse are the cynical f*#ks who produce and air her show. Equally bad are the mindless, sensation hogs who watch it for entertainment! They should have a public service warning at the beginning of the show: “Watching this show may result in the suicide of other people”.

  6. I watched Fear and Loathing the other day, having read the book a year or two ago and was amazed with a) the amazing number of cameos in the film, and b) the remarkable gut on Benicio Del Toro, oh, and c) pretty good acting (if bizarre) all round. I was pretty distracted by all the drug-addled visuals, but it was clear when Duke was writing that he had a wonderful way with words. I think it’s one of those films that I’m glad I’ve experienced but I’m not sure I’d watch it again just on a whim.

    The Wikipedia page suggested it was marketed as a zany comedy – I’m not surprised it failed at the box office. It wasn’t particularly funny, just really bizarre. Definitely Gilliam material.

    I’ll look up the Rum Diaries now (book form), because I think I enjoyed the book of Fear and Loathing (not entirely sure).

    1. Should check out Where the Buffalo Roam with Bill Murray, IMHO he did a much better job portraying Hunter Thompson than Johnny Depp did.

      1. Was Johnny Depp meant to be portraying Hunter S Thompson? I got the impression that Raoul Duke was, like Dr Gonzo, a caricature rather than a true portrayal of anyone in particular. It might simply be that I couldn’t actually imagine anyone real being like that and doing those things and getting into those situations – too much for my furry little brain! For example, when Depp is hiding behind the bar in the hotel room and the photographer arrives – I saw that as how Duke/Thompson might have _felt_ but not how he was actually acting.

        That said, that’s the only Hunter S Thompson that I’ve read or seen so maybe he really was spun out like that a lot of the time. I just couldn’t imagine it as a faithful retelling of his trip to Las Vegas. Is that what it really was? I would not want to be that guy’s editor (especially having to foot the bill for the room destruction and the dinosaur tail – I mean, where do you even buy those?!).

        Will see if I can find Where the Buffalo Roam too – ta for the pointer.


  7. “I Cento Passi” is an italian film, english subtitles, that tells the story of an Italian youth who used the radio to criticize and mock the mafia run city of Cinisi, Sicily. Spoiler Alert: it doesn’t end well. It is very accurate to the real events which took place. He is a famous martyr of Italy.