Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What a difference a network makes

It was difficult to see the violence and rioting that took place in nearby Baltimore, MD, yesterday, having visited the city many, many times over the course of 50 years.

As a usual WGAL-TV, Channel 8, viewer (which came from the days of old over-the-air television between VHF and UHF channels), I watched the NBC Nightly News at 6:30 p.m.

I thought they did an OK job covering the riots.  I didn't like the fact the network flew in their anchor, Lester Holt, to appear on a Baltimore street where fire damage occurred. It was not in good taste to also have their "chief political expert" Chuck Todd there to give his view of the mayor's major political test about her response to the riots.  At this point in time, who cares what the political ramifications are?

At 7 p.m., I switched channels and, for the first time in years, watched the CBS Evening News.

My God, was I impressed. First, anchor Scott Pelley was in the CBS News headquarters studio as usual.

Second, the "sound bites" that CBS had of President Obama's talk about Baltimore's event during a news conference were completely different than the ones presented by NBC, and had more meaning, and a more serious message.

Third, CBS found the mother who was videotaped grabbing her son from the demonstrators, ripping off his mask, slapping him for being there and forcing him to go home. Not only did CBS producers find her, but had an in-depth talk which they aired, and for the first time I felt there really are concerned parents in Baltimore.

All in all, CBS had a more in-depth, more truthful presentation of what was going on. And CBS News did not take side-tracks about politics or opinions or take an attitude that they knew the answers to everything.

There is no doubt which of these two networks was more truthful and responsible.

By the way, the NBC outlet in Baltimore, WBAL-TV, continued their own live coverage of the Baltimore situation which they had been doing all day, and did not carry the NBC Nightly News program.  To their credit, they made the right choice not do.  NBC's coverage wasn't worth much.



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