February was a bad month for media trust. “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, perhaps America’s most trusted anchor, was caught in a decade-long fallacy about his helicopter coming under fire in Iraq.
In 2007, ABC News and Charles Gibson squeaked out a victory over Brian Williams on NBC. Both left Katie Couric of CBS a distant third. When Charles Gibson was a host on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” I liked his loosey-goosey, laid-back demeanor and obvious ease as an interviewer in front of the camera and bantering with Diane Sawyer. With the switch to ABC’s “World News Tonight,” where he replaced the urbane, upbeat Peter Jennings, Gibson seems to have purposely changed his “Good Morning America” persona. At first he became the kindly country doctor of my childhood—Hop Allison—who used to make house calls. Lately I
With few exceptions, I despise Super Bowl ads. The only things that irritate me more than the ads themselves are the blathering bloviations of columnists and commentators who give their opinions the morning after on which ads were good and which were bad. They are all dead wrong. They haven’t a clue what they are talking about. Not one of them. Let’s start with five very basic rules of advertising: Rule #1: “Your job is to sell, not entertain.” —Jack Maxson, freelancer, creator of the Brookstone catalog Rule
The idea that advertising agencies are recommending campaigns based on humor—and marketers are going along with it—is an act of desperation. At the end of this issue is an illustration from an upcoming Campbell’s Soup commercial that urges consumers to “Make some holiday magic.” It depicts the branch of an evergreen tree reaching through an open window and grabbing some green bean casserole. The viewer will think, “My isn’t that cute and clever,” and remember the gag, but not the Campbell Soup. Be well-mannered, but don’t be a clown. People don’t buy from bad-mannered salesmen, and research has shown that they don’t buy from
For the last 50 years television news has been the same—men, men, men. From 1949 to 1956 we were treated to the “Camel News Caravan”—a 15-minute news summary hosted by John (“I’m glad we could get together”) Cameron Swayze, who always had an ashtray on his desk and a sign with the sponsor’s logo. This was followed by 15 minutes of Perry Como or Pinkey Lee. Swayze was ousted in October 1956 to make room for the Huntley-Brinkley Report (“Goodnight, Chet; Goodnight, David. And goodnight from NBC News”). These days, the news on the three networks is a tedious and interchangeable compendium of all the
Can George Bush Do for Curling What JFK Did for Sean Connery? Feb. 23, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 15 IN THE NEWS Bush Tries His Hand at Winter Sports President Bush tried his own version of winter sports this weekend—two bike rides in subfreezing temperatures—after watching some of the Winter Olympics on Air Force One on Friday. While flying back from Florida, Bush watched part of the U.S. men's curling competition broadcast from the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. "We were watching some curling—cheering the U.S. on," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, recalling the match the U.S. team won by