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January 26, 2009

In A Picture, What’s Wrong With American Media

Blagojevich Diane Sawyer.jpg

Love to hear your take on this picture, as well as this state of affairs.

…Of course, it’s wonderful to see what’s making news this morning, among other things.

(image: ABC via Reuters. caption: Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appears on his first national television appearance with Diane Sawyer, (R), January 26, 2009 on ABC News’ Good Morning America, the day his impeachment trial begins in his home state.)

  • mcmama

    It’s obvious, but let’s say it anyway. Here we have Diane Sawyer giving the poor crazy man a platform for foisting his delusions on the nation, while minimizing the professionalism of the people who investigated him and called a halt to his megalomaniac ways. Anything for a buck, I guess.

  • Dale

    When I saw this picture earlier today, the disconnect between Blagojevich and Sawyer’s line of sight was striking. They also, of course, appear to be talking at the same time — I suppose it invites the viewer to make the reference of “talking past one another.”
    But as much as it makes it seem like both Sawyer and Blaggo are failing to communicate, what it does for me is to reinforce the obliviousness of the Sawyer — Sawyer as the surrogate for the media — who seems indifferent to what her subject is saying so long as she can elicit a soundbite. It stands in for the more general obliviviousness of a media that would have Sawyer and Blago as a top story on the same day that has witnessed more mass layoffs and additional economic gloom.

  • Asta

    For some reason, the colors remind me of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
    Seriously speaking, I was struck by the sun shiny yellows of the set, and the placement of the flowers. GOOD MORNING AMERICA screams at the camera. Everything’s all bright and happy, and Blago and Sawyer are dressed like they’re going to a funeral. It feels like schizophrenia.

  • stevelaudig

    The lyrics of “Paper Moon” come to mind. It could be because it’s early in the morning here. But the phrase “it wouldn’t be make believe if you believed in me” I think are the words. So here is another round of “TV Reporter Make Believe”. So let’s “make believe” and “let’s pretend”. Blag pretends to be sane and Saw pretends to be serious and vice versa. At some basic level Saw is just as deluded as Blag is in that they both think Blag has something significant to say. I’m wondering, usually there are conditions associated with bail that prevent interstate travel, so how does Blag Man get out of Chicago..

  • Karen H.

    Bag, do you know if this is a still or an actual photo from the interview? I wondered because I watched the interview a few times to see what the governor was saying when the photo/still was taken and couldn’t find it.

  • Ksue

    Two words spring to mind: Yellow Journalism.

  • Ron

    Why not bring Charlie Gibson in to look down his nose and over his reading glasses? He does that so well! I suppose it is more or less the same as Diane’s trademark “squint” and “smile”! Journalism is dead. Blagojevich will probably have a slot on this network right next to Stephanopolous in a few months.

  • desertwind

    Palin-Bago 2012!

  • Lightkeeper

    I think of the old time stories of heaping all our sins on one person and then sending him packing to expunge the guilt of the whole town. For anyone who has seen The Wire its impossible to pretend that the corruption on display in the person of Blag and the stories of his downfall so faithfully transmitted by the media are anything but idiosyncratic. Of course this is the modus operandi of public service in our liberal capitalist age – its just easier to single out one person and focus on him long enough to think it will cleanse everyone’s sin.

  • Saleema

    Diane Sawyer looks like she’s being chastised or being lectured too, and is on the defensive.

  • LizDexic

    You know…after Diane interviewed the sock puppet, interviewing Blo-Jo was not too much of a stretch.

  • Alan

    Everything in sight is phony. They’re not sitting in a room; it’s a set. The comfy chairs, the rug, the nondescript beige tone of the furnishings and walls, the window that most likely isn’t really a window, the coffee table with the perfect flowers, the bowl stored on the shelf below it; all props, part of a set, a make-believe world. The man and the woman, they’re make believe, too. Like dolls, dressed immaculately in their neat little black suits, the man’s shoes all shiny like new, the woman’s shoes not even dirty on the bottom of the soles, a man doll and a woman doll, sitting in a make believe room having a make believe conversation. All across the country, and in other parts of the world, people watch the show and are distracted from the real world, the less glamorous and less tidy real world that goes on all around them. And in the end, enough time is spent by the make believe people having the make believe conversation in the make believe room to allow some more commercials to be shown, and they, the commercials, are the reason all the other stuff exists.

  • richard dent

    Sawyer is giving Blago advice on impeachment. Remember she used to work in the Nixon White House.
    I have never understood what Mike Nichols sees in her. (Sorry for being personal and petty.)

  • newswriter

    That photo and others like it just made me even madder than usual at my beloved colleagues. I mean, there’s an as-prescribed-by-law impeachment hearing going on and this mofo, rather than presenting his case there, goes on a PR tour with those aforementioned colleagues, who collude with him to circumvent Illinois law. If I ruled the media world, which I doubt will happen anytime soon, when his PR people came knockin’, they woulda been told no. Absolutely not.

  • Doktor

    I don’t trust his hair. It looks like a wig – a fake wig that is.
    And as fake as he looks he probably is.
    He looks like that slimey guy from the sixties who wanted to sell you bibles at the door only to spend the money on hookers at the local motel.

  • Johanna

    Blago has learned from Clinton and Edwards, among others, that when you are caught in a scandal it can help if you keep on denying, or in Clinton’s words, “deny, deny, deny” and act as though everything were normal and you are going to “get back to working for the people”, as Clinton used to angrily huff. It didn’t save Edwards in the long run, but it staved off the evil day for a year or more. It completely worked for Clinton. It makes sense that Blago thinks this is the way of safety, and that people will gradually be swayed to not believe the evidence before them, but will be instead persuaded by the image of the man acting as though there were nothing at all amiss.

  • vcInCA

    I see a situation that despite the overt attempts at comfort & casualness through the decor, is strained. Neither person is relaxed, and neither seems to be trying to put the other at ease, e.g. by mimicking the other ones arms or legs. I don’t know what colors she normally wears, but this dark pant suit also contributes to making the situation more formal, more like she is not just inviting him in for a conversation, but it may develop into a grilling (having not watched it, i don’t know if she actually did grill him, tho). And, B’s raised, but not closed & not open hand is interesting-i tried doing that with my hand, and its not comfortable, and it seems uncertain-its not open, like you are revealing the truth, and its not fully closed, like you are indignant or showing the strength of your words. its weak, emasculated. But there are also elements of inequity, to me–she doesn’t have her feet firmly planted on the ground, while he does. To me, that says something about him having an agenda, by being on the show, while for her, this is just another day’s work, nothing spectacular.

  • Barnaby

    If Adolf Hitler flew in today they’d send a limousine any way…
    What we have is a naked juxtaposition between what society needs (rule of law, morals, effective governance, etc.) and what society wants, or rather what corporations, as pilots in the MSM cockpits, think society should get in order to generate $$$.
    A pretty yellow facade for a bunch of bull-crap. Really, I hope this era ends quickly.
    Question: What would Blago have to do to NOT get time on major media?
    Answer: Sex with a live boy or a dead girl.
    Short of that, the “sensational” factor just goes on and on–what a useful way to divert (who’s?) eyeballs from the real issues of the day.

  • Joe Radish

    The main stream media, and then secondarily the blogosphere, and now three times removed, me, are giving this clown the time of day. I think he is preparing himself for a life of main stream punditry, introducing himself to the nation, or maybe he’ll opt for Entertainment Weekly or its ilk. This foolishness, after the President in his address last week reminded us of the seriousness of our time, is heartbreaking because I know that millions watched this fiasco. It all makes me tired.

  • stevelaudig

    Did she ask him why he wasn’t in Springfield? I don’t watch TV anymore. Bagnewsnotes has all the news I need!

  • JM

    I don’t know. I didn’t see the interview–who seriously watches stuff like this for hard news anyway–but DS’s posture seems frankly fawning. She’s sitting forward like a schoolgirl, and her right foot is canted entirely over, destroying any idea that she might be taking any kind of stand against his crazy. The way she’s holding one hand inside the other makes it look like she’s saying, “Really! How interesting!” Just from this shot, it looks like she’s letting him have his head, and is just along for the ride. For his part, I hate to contradict you, vcInCA, but Blago doesn’t have his feet firmly planted. His ankles are crossed; that’s the inside of his left foot we’re looking at.
    And yeah, the set is super-fakey. (And the upholstery on the chairs reminds me of Palin’s $2500 cream silk Valentino jacket. That’s probably unrelated.) The confrontational position of the chairs is interesting. It creates, well, a false sense of directness and confrontation. As though the interviewer is really in the face of the subject, but not really, because the viewer can never have a full-frontal view. The false confrontation actually protects the subject from real confrontation.

  • vcInCA

    ooh, i completely agree, JM, having scrutinized the pic closer–B’s feet are not firmly planted on the ground. However, i would say that he, from his bodily posturing in this & other pics, perhaps he *intended* (but failed) to do such- (e.g. intent to appear resolved, firm, solid, while in actuality appearing to backtrack, re-explain & generally not acknowledge allegations). And, while i’m already on shaky ground, hypothesizing about what his agenda vs. actuality were, what does it say, generically, about a person who is on a public propaganda whirlwind who does not appear firmly resolved through such obvious yet unremarkable things like whether their soles are firmly planted on the ground?

  •[email protected]/ DennisQ

    I watched the Geraldo Rivera “ambush” interview in the parking lot of The View. Blagojevich does a good job raising doubts about what happened. I don’t like Patrick Fitzgerald for letting Cheney off the hook. When Blagojevich claims “the fix is in” all he has to do is mention the name of who busted him.
    Well, what exactly is the evidence against Blagojevich? He says things were taken out of context and that if he had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, he could put them back in context. I may be going out on a limb on this, but that sounds reasonable to me. Why not let him present his case?
    Blago sí, Fitzgerald no.

  • Vulture Breath

    WLS-AM radio in Chicago (owned by ABC), in a cynical stunt, offered Blagojevich his own radio show if he would resign. I’d say that shows something very wrong with American Media. Cynical not only because of the man’s character, but because the show wouldn’t have any listeners. Illinoisans (apparently distinct from the rest of America) sickened a long time ago of listening to Blago.

  • Tehran Azziz

    Everything in this shot is feigned and contrived except the news they are discussing. If the gravity of government corruption and a dangerously flaccid corporate media wasn’t the reality in this shot, then it wouldn’t matter much.

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