It’s been nearly five years since I produced a TV newscast. The reasons why may have to be saved for a novel based upon real-life events — with names changed to protect innocent and guilty. Think of my last post as an appetizer. The main course is going to have to wait a while.
Even though I’m not involved in day-to-day journalism, I do pitch story ideas and I’m happy to help FOX23’s news team where help is needed.
This leads me to the “brilliant” work of the one-man truth squad at FTVLive.com. I have to put “brilliant” in quotes because, for starters, if I had a nickel for each misspelling, subject-verb disagreement, and other proofreading error that ends up on his website, I could afford to buy a brand new car at its MSRP in one fell swoop — while expecting change soon thereafter and title weeks later.
Has this “writer” ever heard of Grammarly? I don’t mind telling you one of my former FOX23 colleagues recommended Grammarly to me. It’s been a big help in my writing. I wish I had the tool in my journalism days.
When it comes to his bad writing, that’s as far as I’ll go — for now. In late August, the “writer” posted the following. I would post a hotlink — but I won’t because I don’t want to add to his analytics. First, here’s a screen grab of his article from late August of 2022.
(To clarify, the article was dated August 29. The web address would seem to indicate the article was in draft at least one day prior. Either way, the finished product definitely comes from late in the month. The offending part of the article I highlighted in blue.)
Okay, I’m going to keep my opinions about the state of NBC News, its broadcasts, and its anchors to myself. The lack of attribution of sources for this story is alarming, to say the least. The “writer” claims to have worked previously as a news director. Did he practice what he previously preached? Judge for yourself.
But let us look at this sentence again: “If NBC puts Guthrie on MTP, it gives the show a female host, which would be a first.”
Every time I’ve seen this sentence, my blood boils. If he were a TV critic for a major newspaper, his editor would rip him a new one.
The “writer” failed to take a brief look at the long history of “Meet the Press” and the journalists who have moderated it through the decades. The “writer” apparently jumped to the wrong conclusion “Meet the Press” was, and is, moderated by males and only males.
With the possible exception of any female substitute or interim moderator (for example, and I don’t have it on good authority this really happened, Andrea Mitchell could have filled in for Bill Monroe at some point in time between 1978 and 1984), “Meet the Press” history does show the program had, in the “writer’s” words, a “female host”?
Who? For the correct answer, all you have to do is go to the first page of the “Meet the Press” chronology. Take a look at this NBCNews.com-official video which I wish I could embed — but will gladly link. You might have to wait for the answer after a brief ad — but the correct answer appears early in the clip.
At this point in TV history, the possibility of seeing a female lead any kind of news program may have seemed like 3720 to 1. No matter how you calculate the odds, “Meet the Press” was that 1 at its genesis.
Oh — but wait — there’s more about Martha Rountree the “writer” didn’t bother to research. Rountree was the co-creator of “Meet the Press”. Further, before “Meet the Press” was on television in 1947, Rountree created “The American Mercury Presents: Meet the Press” — debuting on the Mutual radio network in 1945.
Rountree died in 1999 and lived a full life at the age of 87. Two years before her passing, The New York Times reported Rountree attended a “Meet the Press” golden anniversary celebration. Tim Russert, whose name you most likely associate with the program, said this of Rountree: “She was a news pioneer who helped create a national treasure.” Russert started moderating the program in 1991, at a time when it was on shaky ground, and guided it handily until his passing in 2008.
Think about this for a moment. Before the parenthetically aforementioned Andrea Mitchell, before Jessica Savitch, before Barbara Walters, before Norma Quarles, before Connie Chung, even before Nancy Dickerson (mother of John), there was Martha Rountree. If you are female and are considering entering the world of journalism, take a look at the story of Martha Rountree. You might learn something — would that the “writer” did.
The “writer” needs to issue a retraction and a full apology to his readers, NBC News, all of the staffers at “The Today Show” and “Meet the Press” (whether he likes them or not), and the relatives of Martha Rountree who are still with us. A reference book indicates Rountree married twice and she mothered two daughters.
The “writer” has written about other broadcast journalists issuing apologies for their major misdeeds. Now it’s the “writer’s” turn to issue a mea culpa.
UPDATE 9/5/22: Since Doug’s Place called out the “writer”, he has updated his site. It’s an admitted light update due to the Labor Day holiday.
Of the five new stories published, not one acknowledges Rountree. One of the newest stories acknowledges the stabbing death of a Las Vegas print reporter.
Another offers new developments in the tragic Neena Pacholke story. Pacholke, 27, was a morning anchor at an ABC station in Wisconsin. She recently committed suicide. The new developments are so dark I will respectfully not repeat them here.
This widower is well aware the game of life is not easy to play. If you or someone you know is struggling, help is available by visiting www.988lifeline.org or by simply dialing 988.