November 13, 2004

We wouldn't want to disturb the bread and circus, would we?

CBS News has fired a news producer who cut into CSI: NY to announce the death of Yasir Arafat. The network apologized on-air for the interruption.

Campaign Desk has some choice words for CBS, giving the network the first Most Boneheaded Decision of the Week award:

We'll buy CBS's assertion that "an overly aggressive staffer jumped the gun on a report that should have been offered to local stations for their late news" reports, scheduled to take over the TV screen just minutes after "CSI" ended.

But please: Firing a producer for having the temerity to momentarily interrupt a fantasy program with a piece of news certain to change the world as we know it?

You know in your bones that such a decision has to give pause to any producer or reporter at CBS News who ever imagined that "news" matters to Viacom, the corporate conglomerate that owns CBS, and that clearly considers CBS News to be a minor attraction in its array of entertainment enticements offered up each day to a national public.

Via Broadcasting & Cable.

Posted by Magpie at November 13, 2004 11:01 PM | Media | Technorati links |

I reacted this way, too, but today I saw an article that explained that clear, specific guidelines had been disseminated earlier in the day to the effect that they were to run a scrolling banner, with details on the late news. Turned out the late news was only 5 minutes away.

Guess I'm inclined to leave this as a personnel matter rather than a journalistic faultline.

Posted by: Phil at November 15, 2004 06:26 PM