LIONEL PODCAST: The Jurassic News Industry Just Got Their Wakeup Call. Again!

Nothing’s changed. Nothing. The anchor. The “news.” Staid, starched and stiff. Your dad’s news. Rehashed and invariably irrelevant by the time it hits your brain at 6:30 PM. Dank, dreary and devoid. Devoid of “new” as news guarantees. Jon Stewart is a revolutionary. Bri-Wi wasn’t and isn’t. And what was and is the subject of the revolution? Stewart mocked the pretentious nature of the news, and its haughtiness; he cut through the dreck. It in fact was the news, not fake news. Just like the editorial cartoon often speaks more to the issue than the editorial. Stewart did more to revitalize a natural interest in the topics than any of the hoary Ted Baxters ever did. And that’s just a fact. Much was made over the fact that many younger demos took their news from Stewart. And wouldn’t or shouldn’t they? Somewhere along the line the myth was created that you had to be of a certain stripe to deliver fact. That you needed a degree or, Gawd forbid, a license. As one great newsman said, “You only need a license to cut hair.” News is sexy, fascinating and fun. After all, new is information and data. And whether it’s biased, I’ll let others debate that one. Bias is in the eye of the beholder. Or something.

The irony of ironies. When all is said and done, the most critical point to take away from this is that Brian Williams is the only person to have been penalized for lying about the Iraq War. True and sad. Williams was sacked over years of bloviating and resentment. He just wasn’t liked by colleagues. Too cool for school. The man who couldn’t decide if he wanted to be Cronkite or a Kardashian. Sadly, you apparently can’t be both. But in any event, when you embellish war records, nobody and I mean, nobody can forgive that. the braggart and bigmouth is universally loathed. That’s really what this is about. It has nothing to do with news. It never did. And enough can’t be said that Bri-Wi embellished his own mythical derring-do. He never inflated or undersold troop casualties like Westmoreland did. His puffery was about himself. Plain and not so simple. So he takes a powder for six months. With no pay, mind you. All the while to allow the biggest return in the history of second acts and chances or the resounding din of crickets to a people who’ve forgotten who their Daddy once was.

First printed in 1985 in the San Francisco Examiner and later in 1988 in “Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame and Degradation in the ’80’s” by Hunter S. Thompson

Etymology, anyone? And let’s put this myth to bed, shall we? The word news can be traced back to late Middle English around the 14th century as a plural for the adjective “new” or “new thing.” And, incidentally, the word news has been claimed to be an acronym of the four cardinal directions (North, East, West, and South). Nonsense.

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