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Thursday Notebook

By admin Published: July 23, 2009

Some inspirational verse:

"We took cognizance of the new synthetic folksiness that saturated certain programs and the excursions into political waters by these 'I-don't-know-anything-but-I-know-what-I-think" guys."

That "I-don't-know, etc." line is just about the best description I know of the current breed of commentators, TV and radio, and of the approach to news in which expressing an opinion loudly and forcefully is considered far more effective than waiting for facts. As James Rainey said in writing about Larry King & Michael Jackson, "Night after night, the 'experts' lob back speculation, piled on theory, heaped on postulation."

And it was ever thus. The lines I quoted first date to 1956, and come from Elia Kazan's introduction to a script of the classic "A Face in the Crowd," written by Budd Schulberg and directed by Kazan. It's a very knowing meditation on TV and politics, and more broadly about TV's impact.

Yes, the movie came after things like the Army-McCarthy hearings, when TV demonstrated great influence. But it is timeless, and contains a grand performance by Andy Griffith.

Other notes:

A review of "The Hurt Locker" is here. I had planned to do a post about it as well, but the review pretty much sums up my feelings. Although I may not have gotten right is conveying the incredible sense of dread the movie creates, especially when Renner is onscreen.

A review of "The Ugly Truth" is here. If I had to do it over again, I would probably talk more about Katherine Heigl's limitations as an actress. I have increasing regard for "Grey's Anatomy" because they get her to give a performance at times which far outweighs what she is doing on the big screen; of course, they also at times give her much better material. "The Ugly Truth" is by the numbers.

Today's mailbag is here.

Readers of the print HeldenFiles know my fondness for, which collects goofs from publications. It recently linked to this beaut from the New York Times:

An appraisal on Saturday about Walter Cronkite’s career included a number of errors. In some copies, it misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkite’s coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. “The CBS Evening News” overtook “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondents’ reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of “The CBS Evening News” in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor. Because of an editing error, the appraisal also misstated the name of the news agency for which Mr. Cronkite was Moscow bureau chief after World War II. At that time it was United Press, not United Press International.

The Web site also noted that the correction involved a piece by Times critic Alessandra Stanley, notorious within the business for her errors.

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