Sunday, May 07, 2006

"We'll have to leave it there." Marty Kaplan explicates

Marty Kaplan on the Huffington Post explicates the implications of standard opens and closes for TV and radio interviews.
"We'll have to leave it there," so many of them say, wrapping it up. They mean it to refer to the sad truth that the time alotted for the segment has run out. But what it really communicates is the futility of contemporary journalism. We'll HAVE TO leave it there. There's nothing else we can do -- we can't draw conclusions, we can't figure out which of you screamers is a truth-teller and which a lying nutjob, we can't sort out facts from opinions, all we can do, folks, is just leave it there.
Before leaving it there, myself, I'd like to credit this important insight to its original seer: Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of show Business. Postman focuses on an earlier formulation, "Now... this." The fragmented report, the sudden switch to a new topic have been inherent in television news since the beginning.

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