Monday, December 29, 2008

Reporting or Rubbing it in?

Last night NBC Nightly News decided that the Chip Saltsman/Rush Limbaugh story was worthy of inclusion in their half-hour report. However, their version was a far cry from how Michael D. Shear had presented the story in The Washington Post. Of course Shear had the luxury of working in column-inches rather than sound bytes; but that was the crux of the problem. To this viewer it seemed as if NBC had decided to invest more than a few "bytes of sound" in playing the recording that Limbaugh had aired and Saltsman had distributed on a holiday CD. NBC thus gave us a far more thorough sampling of the offending material, displaying the text on the screen while the song was performed. This was then followed by a few "bytes" concerned with who was offended and how.

Yesterday I tried to frame the episode in terms of what Saltsman thought he was doing. This morning I find myself wondering just what the NBC producers thought they were doing. Did they think we would not get the point with a sample as brief as the one Shear had provided; or was this their way of providing Limbaugh with a broader audience under the pretext of "thoroughness?" Enquiring minds want to know!

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