WARNING: Political rant. I try to avoid them but every so often I just can't help myself. So see you tomorrow if you're a Trump supporter. And just a reminder that comments will be moderated and screened. Okay, you've been warned.
Someone will pitch a joke in the writers room that might be funny but makes the character sound too stupid. Or they’ll pitch something that adds to that character’s backstory for the sake of a cheap laugh. And I’ll always say if we do that joke it establishes that the character is stupid or has a Siamese twin or whatever the pitch was. As a showrunner, I always had the feeling that once something was established we were then obligated to live with it.
Yes, there have been inconsistencies on long running shows and in some cases it’s because the writers were unaware of the previously established information. And in other cases, they just ignore what went before for whatever reason. Case in point: MASH. Harry Morgan first appears in an early episode as an insane General and then later as Colonel Potter. But casting is a whole ‘nother ballgame. Remember on CHEERS we had two Garys from Gary’s Old Towne Tavern. And they were interchangeable depending on which of the two actors was available.
But whenever we could we tried vigorously to remain faithful to the information that was established. The integrity of our series was very important to us.
Why? Why report “falsehoods” as Jake Tapper diplomatically called them?
When the president gives a speech and blatantly lies, why don’t news services pause the speech and report the true facts? Why let these outright lies go unchallenged? If there is indeed “fake news” it’s the administration that is providing it. Isn’t the Fourth Estate obligated to call out “falsehoods?”
And then the president’s lackeys go on talk shows or conduct press briefings and lie and fudge and deflect – why carry these? Why allow Kellyanne Conway on your show? You know she’s going to be feeding you absolute bullshit. Microwave cameras and alternative facts. What does it do to YOUR credibility when you let a completely disreputable source have a forum on your air? And why cover Sean Spicer’s press briefings? He is insulting your intelligence daily with his clumsy attempts at spin and damage control. Why play into that?
Instead of airing clips of his press briefings why not just have your correspondent do a stand up in front of the White House and say: “In today’s briefing, the press secretary offered nothing of substance. He just dodged questions and offered lame transparent excuses for the president’s misbehavior.” Done.
Why dignify their bullshit? They know it’s bullshit and YOU know it’s bullshit. The shameful lies wouldn’t stop, but at least they wouldn’t be propagated. And if you absolutely must see Spicer's press briefings in their entirety there's C-SPAN.
I just wonder how Murrow and Cronkite and Huntley & Brinkley would have handled this. My guess is nothing would be reported until it’s fact-checked. So nothing would be reported. In that case, no news really is good news.