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Rather Warns Against Propaganda As News

From the oh so “PC” PC Magazine:

Dan Rather Issues Warning About the Future of News

04.26.07

By Kyle Monson

We sat down with veteran news anchor Dan Rather, formerly of CBS News and now with HDNet, to chat about technology, blogs versus mainstream media outlets, and the value of reporting (and watching) wars in high-definition. Rather also tells us what it’s like to have Mark Cuban for a boss.

Q: The trend in news right now is to shrink it down, to put it in smaller clips, and we’re watching it in smaller windows on small computer screens. And yet you’re broadcasting long-form journalism in high-definition on huge displays for people to watch. Do you feel like this gives the audience a chance to get more emotionally involved?

A: First of all, I think your analysis is correct. One thing that’s happening in journalism is that there are pressures to keep it short—as in KISS (Keep It Short, Stupid). There’s certainly a place for that. But it’s gone too far. I’ve always believed there’s a place for the longer form. I think the advantage to the viewer is when we do a story saying, for example, we want you to know what the war is—what it really is—as opposed to what someone wants you to believe it to be. And we’re going to spend an hour showing you in high definition, which is more detailed, more vivid, more in-depth than any pictorial war coverage in history. When we’re able to wed good reporting and good writing with the best pictures that have ever been on television, then there is added value for the viewer. For the first time in my career, I can spend every moment of every day concerning myself with the quality of the program, not the quantity of the audience. That’s been more liberating than I ever imagined it could be.

Q: Do you see a difference in reporting between TV news and newspapers, newsweekly magazines, or even blogs that don’t get into the field as much?

A: Some bloggers do get into the field, and I hope that tribe increases. Good journalism finds a way, whether it’s blogging or some other form on the Internet, as opposed to radio, TV, print, and so on. The fundamentals don’t change.

Q: Do you agree that new technologies make it easy for bloggers to capture reality and throw it in the face of those who would want to distort it?

A: New technologies can be used to our advantage to speak truth, expose corruption, and increase people’s knowledge. But we have to be careful on this new frontier—the Internet, iPods, pictures on phones, and so on—to be ever alert to the potential for propaganda.

Oh, my sides.

No, Mr. Rather, we can’t have that.

(This is just an excerpt. But if you are a glutton for comedy, go to the link for the full 27 minute video interview.)

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, April 28th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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