Sunday, April 3, 2022

CBS Sunday Morning - Still Simply The Best of American Journalism :)

I used to watch this show every Sunday with my grandfather, it's one of my best memories of him. I still try to watch it whenever I can, particularly when people calling themselves journalists (or "news commentators" if they have no education/training) - start getting on my very last nerve - if nothing more than to remind me of what good journalism and journalist integrity actually looks like lol.

In fact, there was a brief time in college where I toyed with the idea of journalism because of this show, and Jane Pauley, who at the time was the Today Show co-anchor with Bryant Gumbel, but that's a story for another day.

Anyway, I still love this show, because despite the passing-of-the-baton of hosts, the show has had the same successful recipe for 43 years, without compromising, in a world where now the politicians control the narrative, and often the journalists or "news commenters" themselves.

There's no flashy click-bait titles or transparently political narrative, no intentionally divisive content - just simply letting the person being profiled tell their whole story, for better or worse, without editing out points that don't fit a particular narrative - then letting you decide for yourself what to think :)

It's not that they avoid politics or popular issues, they certainly do not - nor do they put a positive spin on everything - it's just that they profile the humanity in a story, leaving a person their dignity.

Their human-interest stories let the person they're profiling tell the story, rather than controlling the narrative or interrogating someone like they're a trial witness. 

(If you want that sort of thing, you can watch Meet the Press, which is on just after this show, although that show definitely has changed.  Prior moderators refused to let things get out of control, but now they almost welcome chaos.  I wonder how my grandfather would react to it now - probably with a laugh, as even back then, he'd laugh at these politicians and say, "Wooowee, that was as whopper.  They're stepping deep in BS now." :)

Back to CBS-SM, their journalists also don't take themselves too seriously, nor their interviews - they know how to ask tough questions, but also know when to back off and when to lighten things up with a joke.

In fact, if I were famous for something,  I might consider an interview with Oprah, but I'd but most likely give my one-and-only interview - to Moe Rocca :)

Because though he can ask tough questions, he also knows when to back off and allow them their dignity - then usually distracts from the awkwardness with a self-deprecating joke or his own awkwardness :)

In this way, Moe is thus somehow simultaneously both insightful and satirically hilarious.

In fact, his book, "Mobituaries:  Great Lives Worth Reliving" is on my "to-do" reading list.

(Right now, however, I'm simultaneously reading both Colson Whitehead's 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner, "The Underground Railroad," as well as "Fodor's Essential Spain - 2022."

Now - they did briefly chime in today on the Will Smith/Chris Rock fiasco, because they can't ignore it entirely - but I absolutely loved the momentary mention of it during the guest journalist opinion portion by Charles Blow from the NYT.

In it, he said that this event was a cultural Rorschach test - people see different things in it, interpreting it in different ways, from different perspectives.

He gave his own take on it, which I didn't entirely agree with, but that's his point - that almost all of these arguments (besides race-genetics arguments) are valid - thus, it causes us to pause and re-evaluate ourselves, which is an  uncomfortable, but nevertheless important, step in making cultural and self-improvement, and therefore eventual cultural progress.

He also said similar to what I just wrote in my prior post this morning as my theory on why people gave Will a standing ovation anyway - that perhaps that is why this seemingly small event in comparison to the world stage, right now, took precedence over everything else for a week - because it revealed the raw, fragile, humanity that exists underneath all of our posing.

Lastly, and most importantly, IMO, is the the moment I love most about this show, which has always been the very last moment of the show for the last 43 years - the nature segment.

The show-ending nature segment is the best moment of a show that in and of itself is the only news show that I'm still proud of in America - a show that represents the best of America, rather than our worst :) 

They simply film in at wildlife location with no narration, no music, - nothing at all but the sounds of nature itself, telling you a story  :)

This is last week's show-ending nature segment, which happened to be from my favorite place in my small world -  the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains -  sharing the sights and sounds of nature's spring babies - Elks and and wild turkeys :) 

Thus, like the arrival of Spring itself - despite whatever chaos is going on in the world - the show always, without fail for 43 years - leaves us smiling :) 

Just ... nobody slap anybody on this cultural institution, please? lol

Like I said in the post below, we will now need to choose between preservation VS. perpetuation of certain elements in our culture.

However, IMO, institutions like CBS-SM, which celebrate this remarkable, diverse, colorful quilt that is America is one American value that should be both preserved and perpetuated, and perhaps should remain sacred - in fact, we should perhaps hold it more sacred than ever before. 

Happy Sunday :) 

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