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April 14, 2006

The "M" In NBC Stands For "Me"

I know there's no M in NBC. You try coming up with clever titles all the time.

Anyways, I had the misfortune of watching NBC's Nightly News tonight, which is something I haven't done in quite a few years. After spending the first couple of segments building their case against Rumsfeld, the network turned its evil eye on the legendary 10th Mountain Division, currently in Afghanistan hunting Taliban.

Here's a transcript and link to the video.

What seemed odd at first, later became annoying, then maddening. Jim Maceda seemed to spend at least as much time talking about himself as he did talking about the 10th Mountain.

An example:

. . . gunmen sprayed our campsite with machine gunfire, just as we prepared to sleep, sending me digging for cover. Two insurgents were wounded, fleeing into the mountains. It was my closest call in 30 years of reporting. [emphasis mine]
Okay, so while you cowered, what else did the real men do? He doesn't elaborate.

Another example:

At dawn, we began the grueling 4,000-foot descent. I carried a 50-pound pack. My cameraman, Kyle Eppler, had that plus a 50-pound car battery, for power.
I thought that was a strange bit of information to put in the story, especially when the accompanying video showed soldiers carrying heavy gear too. Personally, I didn't give a crap how much Maceda carried. What about the soldiers? How much were they carrying? Weren't they supposed to be the point of the story?

Interestingly, Maceda did find it important to mention the four soldiers who needed medical care after the march. I suppose he did that to show how macho he was by contrast.

Maceda couldn't resist adding one more reminder of the hardships he endured to bring us "the story." In closing, he says it's

an often forgotten war that is hard work for the military and the media covering it.
Poor baby.

I appreciate Maceda's effort, but I do not need to know about it. In fact, I thought the reporter was not supposed to be part of the story. Instead of hearing about Maceda and his cameraman, I would rather have known a few more relevant details like: How many bad guys have we blown away and/or how many rat-holes have we flame-throwered?

Posted by annika, Apr. 14, 2006 | TrackBack (0)
Rubric: annikapunditry


When you're irrelevent, you have to keep validating your relevence. It's a way of coping.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 14, 2006

I saw that piece too. Did you notice that they showed a soldier getting his elbow bandaged up? As if to mockingly say, "aww, poor baby!"

Posted by: Thomas Galvin on Apr. 14, 2006

This is cold-blooded calculation about how to personalize the story, a la Anderson and Shep during the false Katrina reporting - which, btw, only boosted both of their careers. Amazing, but true.

Posted by: gcotharn on Apr. 14, 2006

I used to like Shep, but lost all respect for him post-Katrina. I don't watch him anymore.

Posted by: Casca on Apr. 15, 2006

Shep lost me when he acted like a jerk over some parking incident in NY prior to 9/11. What an ass. I guess when you make that kind of money, you start to believe you are the story.

I always liked the news in Japan, at least way back in the 70s. It didn't matter what channel you watched, the readers all had the same meter, tone, inflection and accent. These guys never lost their cool, even during big stories. "Prime Minister Tanaka is resigning after accepting bribes from Lockheed" got the same treatment as "today is coming of age day for 20 year olds throughout Japan."

Posted by: MarkD on Apr. 15, 2006