Bad News (casts)

Friday, February 24, 2012


Hollywood can conjure realistic car chases, wars, and alien invasions. When it comes to a simple evening newscast, however, the results are almost always unconvincing. Bob speaks with a TV critic, a TV news director, an Onion News Network writer, and two directors to find out why Hollywood gets it wrong.

Battles - White Electric (Shabazz Palaces Remix)

Comments [13]

Claudia Nelson from Seattle

Well, I thought the segment was great! Interesting observation, perfectly timed to run under the Oscar spotlights, fair game, worthwhile! We always notice chinks in the armor of things we're closer to, professions we know about, pay attention to &/or report about. It's refreshing to hear/see self-reflective, honest scrutiny of a profession seen these days more often than not to be a pathetic shadow of its former 4th estate self.

Feb. 27 2012 02:45 AM
Bennett Shapiro from Middlesex, VT

And I just remembered another missed bit of good Hollywood newscast... Daniel Schorr in The Net with Sandra Bullock. Dan Schorr really knew how to play Dan Schorr.

Feb. 26 2012 08:24 PM
S. Marie from Portland OR

When a script calls for a newsperson to say "this reporter," you know the writers don't even watch the news, let alone research for authenticity. The otherwise good "Too Big to Fail," on HBO was also marred by scripted "newscasts" with lines that only a screenwriter would use. I agree that the deliveries in "Broadcast News" sounded accurate, if not the flopsweat.

Feb. 26 2012 08:01 PM
Andrew Sleeth from Raleigh, NC

It does my heart good to hear public acknowledgement of the Hollywood “bad news” phenomenon by a professional of the news media. The only believable newscasts I can recall from a film would be a few snippets in “The American President.” But then, when have we ever heard any U.S. president actually deliver a press conference speech as brilliantly inspired and crafted as Andrew Shepherd’s.

Truth be told, though, the television and film industries’ depictions of doctors, lawyers, and just about everyone and anything even obliquely associated with law enforcement is wholesale fantasy. So I part company with Bob crediting Hollywood with accuracy on those fronts.

Here in North Carolina, we’re having our noses rubbed almost daily in the agonizing reality that police, crime scene investigators, and district attorneys are just about the most corrupt, incompetent, and vicious lot of liars on the planet. And it certainly wouldn’t make for pretty cinema.

Feb. 26 2012 07:38 PM
Gloria from Oakland, CA

Add to the list of occupations that Hollywood doesn't get right are anything depicting laboratories or computers. I can't stand seeing people working in a lab with beautiful makeup and jewelry but no safety goggles, lab coat or gloves, cutting into something that could squirt or contaminate them with evil toxic chemicals or organisms! And all lab instrumentation in the movies and TV are unrealistically quick and accurate! Computers also always provide information quickly, operated by one computer whiz who can do everything.

Feb. 26 2012 05:52 PM
Bennett Shapiro from Middlesex, VT

I think you guys ignored one of your own when it comes to great fictional newscasts. Daniel Schorr in The Game with Michael Douglass was spot on as himself... playing himself to a tee. And besides, who says Hollywood gets most other things right, anyway? I find most Hollywood depictions of anything from parenting to politics to be shallow, uninformed, and un-nuanced. Why would we expect their depictions of news broadcasts to be any better?

Feb. 26 2012 05:36 PM
James Hay from Santee CA

As Janet from Googleburgh said, what makes Bob thing that Hollywood presents anything correctly? Any specialist will tell you that television and the movies gets their specialty wrong.

What really surprises me is what Bob thinks Hollywood does well. Bullet wounds? The hero gets shot in the shoulder or gets a "flesh wound" through the leg and five minutes later is running around as if all he got was a scratch. Do you know how much damage a bullet wound like that does? How long recovery can be? How about fights in general? Bruce Willis takes enough damage in the Die Hard movies to take out a full platoon of Marines but just keeps going.

But perhaps this was all an Onion type mock report, given Bob ends by referring to a realistic alien invasion. (I hope at least that was sarcastic.)

Feb. 26 2012 01:21 PM
Mike Hennessy from Connecticut

LOL. When Bob said one organization DID get fake news right, all I could think of was "Fox News".

Feb. 25 2012 07:35 PM

Perhaps a more pertinent phenomena for the news media is not Hollywood faking TV News but TV News faking Hollywood.
Journalists will have to get in line behind cops, robbers, soldiers, politicians and every other human occupation in the complaint department of how Hollywood which is based on dramatic fantasy gets their pedestrian occupational reality wrong.

Feb. 25 2012 04:16 PM
Bob Garfield

Heartfelt apologies for contaminating a media-criticism magazine show titled "On the Media" with 8 minutes of media phenomenology on the occasion of one of the largest global media events of this or any year.

Obviously, the segment on fake news in movies negated not only the remainder of the episode almost wholly devoted to life-and-death journalistic struggles, but also the show's 12 years of coverage on journalistic sins of commission and omission, political repression, ethics, media economics, law, digital revolution, civil liberties and human rights.

Once again, mea culpa.
Bob Garfield

Feb. 25 2012 01:57 PM
Jon Haben from Austin

This story seemed like more of a Bob Garfield curmudgeon-fest than a relevant story. Five minutes of showtime that could have been used to focus on the real media and it's coverage of real events. OTM seems to be stuck in the monkey house as of late, unable to smell it's own smarty-pants. The entire second half of this episode seemed forgettable and unimportant. Please return to less opinionated presentation and more relevant topics.

Feb. 25 2012 10:52 AM
John A.

Its a shame there isn't a new Hollywood Hero in this regard, to the tune of "Broadcast News" or "Network" to re-state the desired place the news should take in society. Without that, this segment just made me think "Entertainment (Movies) vs Entertainment (Yes, TV News)", with no-one watching the store of Informing us. I observe that it's been said in Other segments of OTM, however. Gotta go, Brian Williams has some YouTube links for me to check out.

Feb. 25 2012 08:03 AM
Janet from Googleburgh, CA

What makes you think that Hollywood car chases, wars, or alien invasions are realistic? (How would you assess the realism or accuracy of a depiction of an alien invasion, anyway?) I think it's just that if they're portraying something you know well, you can see all the ways they're getting it wrong. For example, I notice it when they get the behavior of scientists wrong (forget science; most of the time they don't even try to be in the ballpark of plausible), or when the natural history is wrong, because these are things I know about. British actors must be constantly cringing at the awfulness of American actors' "English," "Scottish," or "Irish" accents.

Feb. 24 2012 08:41 PM

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