Real news doesn’t include nipple slips

August 6, 2011

Once upon a time when news was not a commodity and what was editorially selected for print or broadcast was of the most pressing nature so that it deserved reporting, there were fewer stories about incidental nudity or wardrobe malfunctions.

But Nicki Minaj Nip Slip During “Good Morning America” today this has become news… It doesn’t matter which network – or how it happened – or if it was incidental or accidental. This is now grist for the content wheel. And it is, forgive me, awfully superficial stuff.

And here is a worthy-to-be-remembered apologetic quote using the term “regrettably.” From TV Newser, “ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider, “Although we had a five-second delay in place, the live East Coast feed of the concert regrettably included certain fleeting images of the performer that were taken out of later feeds in other time zones. We are sorry that this occurred.”

And then – adding this, again from TV Newser, “TMZ spoke with the Parents Television Council: “For the umpteenth time in recent memory a morning news show has included inappropriate content for children and families.” It prompts me to ask — the “umpteenth time”? Did I miss so many of the others? How can they be so carried away with hyperbole – “the umpteenth time”? I guess we should ask for their list (Hah!) – or maybe just watch morning news more carefully.

Maybe this is just a Saturday story… but here’s the point. Until you can put a smoking gun in the hands of the ABC producers and prove they intended this to happen, which I don’t think is even remotely reasonable, can’t we just move on? Is this a worthy-to-be-reported story?

It would seem that there are are more editorially worthwhile things to discuss. My argument here is: this isn’t news. It isn’t fashion. It seems at best to be an isolated and fleeting screw up.

Content matters – this even isn’t worthy. Even by ranting I have given it undue prominence. I guess I just wanted to make a clean breast of how I felt.

6 Responses to “Real news doesn’t include nipple slips”

  1. charlotte Says:

    Very clever last line. Yes, you’re right, by even writing about it gives the story ever increasing prominence. While the producers may not have planned it, ABC doesn’t seem to have any shame with it comes to exploiting it.

  2. Mark Travis Says:

    I certainly agree with the premise but I’ve never viewed Good Morning America as a real news source. To me it’s just a compilation of extended human interest stories with the occasional serious discussion. A story about one of the most popular artists in America doesn’t seem too far out for a show like GMA to me.


    • GMA was once more news-oriented – even though the bulk of the show is the providence of ABC Entertainment. The news sections at the top and bottom of each hour were produced by the news division, just as the TODAY show is still entirely produced by NBC News. The mo9rning shows once featured politicians and statesmen eager and prepared to discuss weighty matters and what was said on a morning show frequently became a national subject as the day progressed. Now with politicians weighing their words and sticking to talking points as well as with the diminishing challenging nature of the questions the shows are not as powerful or insightful as they once were.
      So many factors at work – audience preferences… entertainment being more predominate… tastes and desires now seemingly to be less confrontational or meaty… lots of reasons for these changes. Few of them good.

  3. cweimer Says:

    These are all very good points and I enjoyed reading this blog. At this point in time you almost need to ask how many people out there actually want “real news” and how many people think that the ins and outs of celebs is “real news”.Shows such as Good Morning America and The Today Show are what take up most time on television. Why is it that stories about the social world are replacing real news stories?


    • An interesting and complex question – one that has its roots in the lack or absence of curiosity, a decline in teaching statesmanship & ethics, civics too. There are complex reasons – isolationism, a fear or lack of understanding of different cultures, even the fact that we have never been invaded or our borders penetrated by a foreign power… this and much more. Entertainment is pabulum – it’s easy – simple, digestible. It flows like water and allows us to go “tsk, tsk” and can be as compelling as watching a train wreck when some one misbehaves.
      These are challenges you must face as an aspiring journalist. This will not be a smooth or easy journey. It is however both turbulent and enthralling.

  4. brandoncarte Says:

    I agree completely, Mr. Shaplen. Unfortunately, we live in a world where news stories frequently revolve around celebrities. I get extremely frustrated at the ridiculous amount of coverage for weddings. According to the Wall Street Journal, CNN alone had a team of about 125 journalists and production staff assigned for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April. During this time they only had 50 people stationed to cover the breaking news of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami! Even today a big “story” in the news right now is Kim Kardashian’s wedding.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703899704576204443433487336.html


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