Another reminder that network news producers are not big on what I like to call "news judgment."
Watching Good Morning America today, I was amazed to see that the Pennsylvania primary was the day's top story. Amazed because just a few minutes later, during what they called, without a trace of irony, "the day's top stories," ABC got to an item about a grizzly bear-slash-movie actor that killed his trainer yesterday near Los Angeles.
Yes, it's sad that a dude died while trying to corral a 7-foot, 700 pound wild animal, and, perhaps, sadder still that the authorities are now considering killing the bear. I mean, after all, he was, um, acting like a bear.
But the day's third most important news story? Well, consider the following:
- ABC did have grainy footage shot from a traffic helicopter of -- as the reporter so eloquently put it -- "the bear pacing in his cage."
- Someone died in gruesome fashion.
- Last, and perhaps most important, the bear had been in a movie with Will Ferrell. The bear is a celebrity! A celebrity who killed someone! Surely, he deserves -- no, demands -- the same news treatment as Robert Blake or O.J.
So yes, friends, this was the third most important news story ABC could find today. Really, it's amazing they could come up with even two things that deserved to come first in the lineup. That there was news that might directly affect more people than a bear attacking its trainer in Southern California.
At the end of the breathless report, Chris Cuomo, who's rapidly joining Ann Curry at the top of my list of TV journa-lites I could really do without, somberly intoned, "Another reminder that these are... wild animals." I have to say, it really made me stop and think.
Speaking of Ann Curry, can anyone explain to me why ... aaaaaaaahhhhh!??! ... why she's actually in news, let alone on national TV? Now, it's almost like she's taunting us with her irrelevance. The AP reported that during Laura Bush's guest host gig on the Today show yesterday, the First Lady successfully executed (gasp) a voiceover. Curry gushed, "You did that so well, it's obvious that we [the full-time news personalities] are overpaid."