• 32 years ago, news conferences were different. Or not
• You can tell it’s 1987 by the big hair
• Alert: This is a thumb-sucker. A think-piece. Deep, very deep
In 1987, an executive producer at CNN was frequently calling in ABC Radio News’ Reporter-on-the-Road (me) to hold forth on TV about such matters as who got snubbed in the Grammy nominations, should music CDs have “parental guidance” stickers, and other issues and trends in pop music, my ostensible “beat,” when not gallivanting across the globe in pursuit of more serious news.
Frank Radice was responsible for this. We’d met while covering the Grenada invasion in ’83 and he started using me as a talking head, or “expert” on some CNN Showbiz Today segments. This one, he wrote and narrated himself. And, oddly, I was the sole talking head in this discussion of how celebrity news conferences were evolving. I don’t think I contributed anything profound. To the contrary, I just made some semi-glib asides. But . . .you be the judge. (SFW)
Appearances like this led to a once-a-week slot as a contributor to Showbiz Today and eventually to 12 years as a full-time correspondent.
So, what have we learned? How are celeb news conferences different today . . if at all? I’d have to say they’re not, really. Little in the way of real news emerges. It amounts to free advertising, ultimately – a point Paul Newman made in the piece.
Only in the realm of national politics has something new been added to the equation. And that’s the parlor game, “Count the Lies.” Of course, politicians and public officials — most but not all, it could be argued — have always dissembled to a degree. But today, the practice of fact-checking, the deployment of fact-checkers, verily the “beat” of fact-checking seems to be a growth industry.