ME and Ophelia

Saturday, January 31, 2004


TV NEWS NETWORKS ADMIT THEY DID A DISSERVICE TO HOWARD DEAN AND THE VIEWERS - Heads should roll with public apology to Howard Dean and his campaign

Don't you think the network executives responsible for repeatedly broadcasting Their Version of the "Dean Scream" speech -- ought to resign or be fired, and a public apology issued to Howard Dean and his campaign team? I do. My previous posts on this issue, and the following report in full by Diane Sawyer (New York-ABC News, January 29, 2004) may help you make up your mind.

The Version of Reality You Didn't See.. or Hear on TV
By ABC NEWS' Diane Sawyer:

"It was the scream Howard Dean says became famous after the media played it nearly 700 times in a few days. Not only that, his camp adds, what we heard on the air was not a reflection of the way it sounded in the room. After my interview with Dean and his wife in which I played the tape again -- in fact played it to them -- I noticed that on that tape he's holding a hand-held microphone. One designed to filter out the background noise. It isolates your voice, just like it does to Charlie Gibson and me when we have big crowds in the morning. The crowds are deafening to us standing there. But the viewer at home hears only our voice.

So, we collected some other tapes from Dean's speech including one from a documentary filmmaker, tapes that do carry the sound of the crowd, not just the microphone he held on stage. We also asked the reporters who were there to help us replicate what they experienced in the room.

Reena Singh, ABC News Dean campaign reporter: "What the cameras didn't capture was the crowd."

Garance Franke-Ruta, Senior Editor, American Prospect: "As he spoke, the audience got louder and louder and I found it somewhat difficult to hear him."

Dean's boisterous countdown of the upcoming primaries as we all heard it on TV was isolated, when in fact he was shouting over the roaring crowd. And what about the scream as we all heard it? In the room, the so-called scream couldn't really be heard at all. Again, he was yelling along with the crowd.

Neal Gabler, Senior Fellow, Lear Center USA: "When you're talking about visuals, context is everything. So, you've got a situation in which you have what I'd call the televised version of reality, which is not the same as the actual reality in room. You know in a situation like this, no one takes responsibility."

Comments from network executives:

CBS News: "Individually we may feel okay about our network, but the cumulative effect for viewers with 24-hour cable coverage is -- it may have been overplayed and, in fact, a disservice to Dean and the viewers." -- Andrew Heyward, President - CBS News

ABC News: "It's always a danger that we'll use good video too much." -- David Westin, President - ABC News

CNN: "We've all been wrestling with this. If we had it to do over again, we'd probably pull ourselves back." -- Princell Hair, General Manager - CNN

Fox News: "It got overplayed a bit, and the public clearly thought that, too, and kept him alive for another round." -- Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO - Fox News."

[Source of ABC News report link courtesy Halley Suitt - with thanks]

Related posts in this weblog:
Mon 26 Jan: A DIFFERENT TWO MINUTES ALTOGETHER - See two videos of what really happened in Iowa
Sun 25 Jan: WHAT THE INTERNET GIVES, THE INTERNET CAN TAKE AWAY - A lesson to us all - by Tom Watson MP
Sun 25 Jan: DEANGOESNUTS.COM GETS IT - Message of the day
Sat 24 Jan: DEAN SCREAM IS A WINNER - Capitalise on the rallying call
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Note: Maybe we bloggers could push the media for a public apology and ask them to give Howard Dean free airtime to allow him to convey the message that was suppressed and destroyed by the media - what do you think? Wonder how many hours of airtime was devoted to the 700 showings of their version of the Dean Scream. Don't you think he ought to be given the equivalent amount of airtime, free of charge, as compensation to let the public hear the message that was destroyed by the media in Iowa and New Hampshire?
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US Candidates and issues - courtesy of BBC News online.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 1/31/2004
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