Tuesday, September 30, 2003

On ABC's "Sunday Morning" this past weekend, George Stephanopoulos et. al. chose to include a brief "in memoriam" segment. The distribution of time to recently deceased notables went something like this: Akila al-Hashim, the only Iraqi woman on the governing council, assassinated (5 seconds of silence, fade to black); Edward Said, leading Palestinian intellectual, dead of leukemia (5 seconds of silence, fade to black); George Plimpton, editor of Paris Review and charming but not particularly brilliant man of letters best known for writing about his efforts to compete against real pro baseball players, boxers, etc. (2 minutes or so of footage of Plimpton pitching, getting punched, etc., complete with voiceover). The incongruity in coverage says volumes about television's elevation of entertainment over substance. On the other hand, that ABC mentioned Said's death at all probably sets it above its competitors (though I haven't checked to see if other channels carried it at all).

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