Monday, March 14, 2011

Fake Journalism with the TODAY show

How many of you have seen Broadcast News?  Remember the scene when Holly Hunter figures out that William Hurt is fake crying and it's all just a gimmick to make compelling TV news.  Well, what I bring to you is a lot like it.  And it's courtesy of the Today show.

As a set up, Ann Curry received the Twitter you see below.  A woman in San Francisco was looking for her sister, Canon Purdy, whom she hadn't heard from since the earthquake in Japan.  So NBC decided to try to find the missing American.

After looking around the earthquake/tsunami-zone and checking with her co-workers, they found the woman.  But this is where the Broadcast News part comes into play.  As you'll see in the clip below, NBC had camera crews not just on location in Japan with the missing teacher, but with the family in San Francisco when Canon Purdy "first called" to let them know she was alive.

So this brings up my point about bad journalism.  NBC did one of two things:
  1. They said something like, "We know of the status of you loved one, but aren't going to tell you what happened unless we can get an initial 'reaction shot' on film."  This seems awfully cruel, or...
  2. They told the family in advance what they new (because NBC doesn't have camera crews hanging out in their house, or so I hope).  This then makes the video below, reported as news, not really that at all.  Rather it's closer to a reality show.  And we know how "real" those are.
Watch for yourself...

Now I'm sure some of you think I'm being insensitive about this. And the important part is the family was reunited. I completely agree that the important part IS the family was reunited. But NBC doesn't need to compromise their journalist ethics in the process.


Anonymous said...

What journalistic ethics? The Today and NBC news in general exists to promote Universal Studios. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

as my mom pointed out an oprah segment-with total disgust- if you are surprising the teacher with new equipment and a look at his old student-how is the video camera in the classroom to film his reaction when the old student was opening the door. but you have to hand it to the teacher he played surprise pretty well.

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