Saturday, January 30, 2021

1987's "Broadcast News" was a "canary in a coal mine." Who knew?

Here's a quick description by The Ringer:

"Broadcast News, the romantic comedy-drama released on December 16, 1987, is among the best movies ever made about journalism. Written, directed, and produced by Brooks, it’s the story of three people working for the Washington bureau of a major television evening news show. As senior producer, Jane Craig (Hunter) has an excellent working relationship and friendship with reporter Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), a man who has the same intense devotion (obsession) to work. Together they produce the kind of news they believe matters most: investigative, necessary, useful journalism. When Tom Grunick (William Hurt), a very handsome man with very few qualifications or even a basic understanding of the field, is hired by her network as an anchorman, Jane and Aaron are completely unnerved. He is, by all appearances, sincere, kind, perhaps a little too interested in his own insecurities; more importantly, he does not and never has understood the news he reports on. Jane is just as repulsed by Tom as she is into him, while Aaron, who is and perhaps always has been in love with Jane, wants to prove that his kind of news and his kind of love are both intellectually and morally superior."

To my mind, this is 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential election politics in a nutshell:  We voters ended up forced to choose between presidential nominees (Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden) who were well-educated, well-informed, skilled, and principled, but not necessarily exciting, and a nominee who was not so well-educated, ill-informed, not particularly skilled, and totally without principle, but charismatic and persuasive.  And a large part of the U.S. population decided that they preferred a good show to actual accomplishments and honesty.

How are folks who are trying to be rational supposed to approach folks who are not necessarily interested in rationalism?  How are people who are trying to be allies of folks who may not be as fortunate as some of us are--due to poverty, prejudice, and/or other challenges--supposed to persuade those who may be a bit short on compassion to give issues of equity and social justice a second look?

The floor is open.

"Canary in a coal mine."


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