Friday, August 24, 2007

NPR news, "fake but accurate"

My old friend (similar age cohort, anyway—whaddaya mean, old?) and occasional musical collaborator Bob Stepno—did I mention that Bob is a journalism professor?—has a post up on his journalism blog about how great it is to be able to embed video and audio on personal websites like this one, without having to figure out how to capture the media, and then, how to host it, without blowing your bandwidth through the roof. Yes, Bob, that's just peachy. But what I really appreciate about Bob's post is the example he chose to demonstrate audio embedding. Here it is:

This requires the Flash Player. Mp3 download here.

I have noticed that it's difficult for me to listen to NPR, especially the news; now I think I know why. It's the Velveeta of the airwaves, a sort of extruded processed news product. And in this clip, they admit it! And sound like they are proud of their accomplishments! Too many of our career politicians are senile or otherwise impaired; cleaning up their sound bites leaves something else on the floor beside the uh's and the stumbles, and that's the integrity of the "news" provider.

Once you start editing the clips to remove the little infelicities, you have crossed the threshold that George Bernard Shaw was talking about, when he famously, and apocryphally, asked the duchess if she would sleep with him for £10,000. Her response was favorable; he followed up by asking if she would sleep with him for £5. Her response to this was not so favorable: "What kind of woman do you think I am?!" His response to this: "Madam, that is already established. Now we are just haggling over the price."

Google searches on Rathergate, fauxtography, "fake but accurate," and Dowdification will yield much to the inquisitive.

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