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David Poland

By David Poland

Another Case Of Idiotic Non-News Hype

The opening of the Emmy Awards on Sunday night was a 5-minute sketch that ran across six different Emmy winning shows at a cost of no less than half a million dollars.
And there was a tragic plane accident in Kentucky that killed 49 people after the plane failed to take off at 6am this morning.
The first show that was part of the Emmy package was Lost, which started its run with a mid-air plane crash.
And now, a Kentucky TV station general manager, Matt Drudge and others seem to think that the sketch, which involves the air mishap joke for all of 22 seconds, is a national embarrassment. (You can see the 22 seconds and not the whole 5 minute segment, which also makes light of Tom Cruise’s sexuality and the child molester-catching episodes of Dateline here.) Ultimately, the joke of the Lost bit was that it was invited to the Emmys last year and not this year.
Are we really that sensitive that a joke about a TV show gets couched into some sort of condemnable insensitivity to a real life tragedy? And will we in the media ever see anything with clear eyes instead of as a self-promotional opportunity again?

66 Responses to “Another Case Of Idiotic Non-News Hype”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    “Matt Drudge and others seem to think that the sketch, which involves an air mishap joke for all of 22 seconds.”
    I think you’re missing a clause here.

  2. David Poland says:

    I was

  3. THX5334 says:

    Crazy Nikki jumped on this bandwagon.
    It’s a good thing she doesn’t allow a comments section on her blog, she’s get ripped to shreds every post she makes.
    Which would most certainly push her over the brink that she’s been tittering on for years.

  4. THX5334 says:

    Big Furk Yeah! To The Office winning the Emmy for Best Comedy. Every now and again one of these academies gets one or two right.
    Now if they would just pay attention to BSG. Edward James Olmos was the real win for Best Actor in a Dramatic series.
    But, once again, the show reminds us how more often they get it wrong than right.

  5. prideray says:

    At times like these, Mr. Drudge and others are like children picking at imaginary scabs.

  6. James Leer says:

    I’m with you here. It’s trying to make a mountain out of a molehill for page hits.

  7. EDouglas says:

    They do realize that this sketch was probably planned months ago and there’s a good chance that everyone was so busy preparing for the show that they didn’t even hear about the plane accident in Kentucky? In any case, it seems like everyone who’s jumping on this one is being too sensitive.
    I missed the opening but I couldn’t even watch the Emmies because they were so bad, all the skits the presenters were doing before handing out awards were PAINFUL… no wonder they’re stuck doing TV.

  8. Crash115 says:

    As a native Kentuckian and a frequent flier, I was very aware of the accident yesterday, and I made a comment to my wife (as we watched the Emmy’s) that it was very poor timing for the plane crash intro. Would it have been that much less effective (or funny) if it had cut the plane scene and shown Conan coming out of the water onto the Lost beach? I don’t think so. It was funny enough to maintain the joke without the Plane crash opening.
    I’m sure that the families of the 49 victims of the ComAir crash had more important things to do than watch the Emmy’s last night…but that’s not the point. How many people worked on the plane crash sketch? How many people at the network or in production of the show saw it before it aired? Is it possible that NONE of them saw any news yesterday? More frightening than that, did none of them question whether it was inappropriate?
    I don’t agree with the showing of the sketch any more than I agree with the news outlets making it a big story. The mock outrage being presented is worst kind of moral grandstanding. Both the presentation of the sketch and the rabid, gleeful attack on Hollywood for it’s insensitivity are sad comments on how low our country has fallen.

  9. Tofu says:

    Alright, that was a bit odd coming from someone named ‘Crash’.
    This is Drudge. He gets off on creating award ceremony controversy, most of which he creates all by himeself.
    Don’t even hand me bullshit about being ‘insensitive’ to x, y, or z. It is fiction, not even aimed at a real event. Not treating the population like intelligent adults who can’t tell the difference is insensitive. The worst example of this were people becoming offended by the title of ‘The Two Towers’, I fuck you not.

  10. Eric says:

    Maybe if there was anyone left in America who didn’t think the universe revolved around himself, this wouldn’t be an issue. Instead, because the glowing box in the living room transmits a message you find personally offensive, you assume it was targeted specifically at you.
    Drudge and all the rest of them can kiss my ass.

  11. PetalumaFilms says:

    Amen, Eric. Do we really want to live in a society where every little thing has to be scrutinized as to not hurt someones feelings? Crash- I understand where you’re coming from, but the sketch wasn’t about the Kentucky tragedy, it was a harmless satire of a TV show.
    I mean, we already are starting to live in a bubble world where you have to walk on egg shells to not offend the hyper-sensitive, do we really need our entertainment regulated? I mean (and this is similar I think) I just found out high dives at public pools are now gone. All because some kid somewhere got hurt or killed on one. Now we all have to suffer because one person (or a small group) made their voice heard and recognized. I’d rather run the risk of physical or emotional damage on my own accord than live in a sanitized, P.C. world.

  12. T.H.Ung says:

    More non-news: James Gandolfini telling the troops to “get home safely.” Pllll-ease, what was he saying? “buckle up and drive carefully?” If he meant, bring the troops home, he should have said it. What method of acting is that, James?

  13. adorian says:

    Barry Manilow won an Emmy???!!!!
    Tell me this is not a harbinger of other award shows to come.
    Paris Hilton is going to get a supporting actress award from the Golden Globes?

  14. Mr. Muckle says:

    Well, yes it was a national embarrassment and it deserves to burn in hell! 😉
    But Matt Drudge is also a national embarrassment. The media as a whole are a national embarrassment. The government, the business community, Hollywood, Christendom, NASCAR, the South, the Northeast, Princeton, Yale, education in general, and what else are all national embarrassments. America should bury its freakin’ head under a pillow. And I’m embarrassed as all get out, but I don’t deserve to burn in hell. I’m just a little cynical (though I prefer the term realistic).

  15. Lynn says:

    “there’s a good chance that everyone was so busy preparing for the show that they didn’t even hear about the plane accident in Kentucky?”
    I tend to agree. They try to keep these openings under fairly tight wraps, and I doubt anyone with the power to do anything about it (e.g. high up producers) had the time to watch the news yesterday. It’s not like the plane crash had wall-to-wall coverage, even from cable news, and I doubt people like executives thought it through enough to put two and two together.
    And I’m sorry, but I’ll just say it — 49 people dying in a commuter plane crash is a tragedy for the people involved, but it is not a major national news story. How many people died in highway crashes yesterday? Should whichever company is making those commercials with the very realistic car crashes stop making them in the name of “sensitivity” to auto-crash victims?
    (And I say this as someone who lost a close family member in a major aviation disaster — I do know what it’s like, the shock and suddenness of it, and believe me, those people weren’t watching the Emmys last night.)

  16. Sandy says:

    I wouldn’t have expected NBC to pull that crashing plane opening because of the money that was spent making the whole sequence, and also because the Emmys are about television shows. They (maybe) wanted to have Lost included since it wasn’t nommed, IMO.

  17. James Leer says:

    “I missed the opening but I couldn’t even watch the Emmies because they were so bad, all the skits the presenters were doing before handing out awards were PAINFUL… no wonder they’re stuck doing TV.”
    Burn. But man, if that’s the dismissive view you take re: TV, you’re missing out on a lot of superlative shows right now, and some — yes — great acting.

  18. Crash115 says:

    Honestly, and despite my earlier rant, I am not overly sensitive. I am, however, somewhat compassionate, and I did feel for those families who lost loved ones in the plane crash. As for the crash being a “National News Story,” it appeared to be one(and rightly so). CNN, FOX NEWS, and MSNBC all ran coverage throughout the day of the crash (mixed with two other major stories yesterday). I think what bothers me most is the attitude of “it’s okay with me, so get over it,” that so many people have. There are no boundaries anymore.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    What about the attitude of “it offends me, so it should offend all of you and it shouldn’t have been aired?”

  20. palmtree says:

    “CNN, FOX NEWS, and MSNBC all ran coverage throughout the day of the crash (mixed with two other major stories yesterday).”
    That’s because it was a slow news day and they had to have something to cover. It’s not like they’re after ratings and sometimes sensationalize things out of proportion.

  21. T.H.Ung says:

    Confession. I had a similar reaction after the fire at The Station in Rhode Island caused by a pyrotechnics display for Great White when, within days, a music awards show let an act go ahead with it’s skyward blowtorch pyro display during it’s performance. My gut just went, “oh, that’s soooo wrong.”

  22. Crash115 says:

    Let me clarify: I didn’t find the Emmy opening “offensive,” nor do I believe it was intended to be. I love the show Lost, and other any other circumstances, I would have thought the satire hilarious. However, what would have been funny two days ago (seeing Conan O’Brien thrown around the airplane and finally taking refuge in an overhead bin!) was uncomfortable to watch last night…as my mind flashed to what must have been the horrific final moments of life for those 49 people. The tragedy was too fresh. I don’t believe in regulating what people can see and what they can’t…but I do believe in respecting other people’s feelings. Even if I had the power, I would not tell NBC or Conan O’Brien that they could not show the skit…but I would hope they had enough ethics not to.

  23. Stella's Boy says:

    Now it’s a question of ethics? If you truly do not believe in regulating what people can and can’t see, you wouldn’t be upset with NBC for airing the opening. Where is the line drawn? What else shouldn’t be aired to “respect other people’s feelings?”

  24. Crash115 says:

    What would have been lost to the world if they had cut those first few minutes from the skit? This is not a question of “I am against Homosexuality, so don’t show any gays…” or “I am against violence, so don’t show any guns…” Everyone is making this into a question of censorship and it is not. It’s basic human decency. Consideration of another peron who is grieving and dealing with a horrible tragedy. If for no other reason, how about a little respect for the dead? 49 people (and I know it has been pointed out that it is not a huge number…I guess it is not Nationally significant if it doesn’t happen in LA or New York) died horribly in a plane crash. Multiply that by their family and friends and you have hundreds (maybe thousands) of people personally affected. If I wasn’t offended by the airing of the sketch, I am certainly offended by the callous response of many people here.

  25. Lynn says:

    I don’t think it’s “callous” to say that you don’t believe anything involving airplanes is suddenly off limits because there was a small commuter airline crash.
    Again — I’d be willing to bet that more than 49 people died in car accidents yesterday. Is anything involving cars off limits? It’s one thing when there’s a major national disaster involving hundreds or thousands or more. But to claim insensitivity in this case… I’m just not seeing it. The people directly involved — those who lost loved ones — weren’t watching the Emmys. I don’t understand why those indirectly involved (e.g., they live in the general vicinity) would find an over-the-top 22 seconds that happens to involve an airplane so offensive.

  26. palmtree says:

    The timing of the segment was unfortunate perhaps but not unethical. The clip reminded me more of Lois Lane being tossed around the plane cabin in Superman Returns than anything else.
    Shows like the Emmys are huge ships, and to expect them to make an editorial because one part of it suddenly becomes offensive because of some overblown media sensation is not reasonable.

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    Lynn, I didn’t watch the Emmys, but I certainly hope no car commercials were aired during the broadcast. That would be unethical and disrespectful to everyone who died in a car accident yesterday, as well as their families. I am offended by people who are so easily offended.

  28. T.H.Ung says:

    Nobody shows my post any love.

  29. David Poland says:

    I’m sure anyone who’s been in a car wreck recently gets upset when those VW ads run.
    They didn’t need to cut 2 minutes of the opening… the entire air sequence was less than a minute long. The air turbulance… which by the way, didn’t show a plane crash… was 22 seconds long.
    But again, it’s amazing that this is the spin and not the gay attack on Tom Cruise (when is Gay America going to get pissed about the media’s endless obsession with closeted men… is being gay really that big a story) or the lighthearted joke about Conan being a child molester.
    Perosnally, I don’t think this was a tough call. 8 American soldiers died in Iraq yesterday. If you are going to watch the f-ing Emmys, you better have some perspective on reality vs TV.

  30. jeffmcm says:

    “when is Gay America going to get pissed about the media’s endless obsession with closeted men”
    Never, because gay men are also fascinated by closeted men.

  31. T.H.Ung says:

    Jeffmcm, unless they’re closeted themselves, they’re only fascinated with straight closeted men, you know, the ones they can turn.
    More on reality vs non-reality — I wish movie stars would stop bleaching their teeth, I don’t want to be reminded I’m watching an actor play a part, it takes me so out of the movie that I want to hate this game.

  32. jeffmcm says:

    ^^^Ah, but how can they tell the difference?

  33. Crash115 says:

    I guess if it were a plane crash with 49 “gay” men dying..THEN it would have been something to be upset about! It’s all about perspective I guess.

  34. jeffmcm says:

    That would be most unfabulous.

  35. T.H.Ung says:

    Jeffmcm, you’d like to on a “plane crash with 49 ‘gay’ men dying” — because why? I hear it’s common for men to get an erection and ejaculate right before dying, something about survival and evolution.

  36. jeffmcm says:

    Thung, Like DP in the opening post for this thread, you are missing a word so as to make your post somewhat hard to decipher.

  37. T.H.Ung says:

    The word I’m missing is acutually a misread. I thought you said fabulous, not unfabulous. My post isn’t missing any words, or mincing them either.

  38. T.H.Ung says:

    sorry Jeffmcm, to be or not to be, “you’d like to BE on a plane crash with 49 ‘gay’ men dying…”

  39. Cadavra says:

    We have become a society where people actively seek to be offended and victimized, and I’m fed up with it. A couple of years ago, the indispensable Wiley Miller did a “Non Sequitur” strip in which a character imagines a world where persecution has become extinct because everyone is now a victim and therefore cannot persecute someone else.
    They’re just jokes, people. Frickin’ deal with it, harrumph, harrumph.

  40. T.H.Ung says:

    It was just a joke Jeffmcm.

  41. jeffmcm says:

    I didn’t say anything.

  42. PetalumaFilms says:

    The threadline of Chuck Palahniuk’s HAUNTED is about a group of narcissistic “artists” who defile themselves and one another in order to be more vicimized than the others. Pretty timely and funny stuff…gross too.

  43. Crash115 says:

    I have seen the light! I’m really way too uptight. It was just a joke after all. I’ve got some great ones about gays, Jews, Muslims, the Holocaust, 9-11, Katrina, and sexually abused toddlers. It’s all okay…just jokes!

  44. jeffmcm says:

    Please do, I’ve got a joke about JonBenet and the “Capturing the Friedmans” family that I’ve been sitting on for way too long. (It ends with intriguing ambiguity.)

  45. RDP says:

    Ellen Degeneres told us last year that at times like these, we need laughter. If that’s the truth in the wake of a disaster that kills 1,000 people and wipes a major city off the face of the Earth, then it’s probably still true in the wake of a small plane crash in Kentucky.
    Plus, I thought the written award shows rules went like this:
    Major Terrorist Attack: Delay nearly a month.
    Political Assassination: Delay two days.
    Attempted Political Assassination: Delay one day.
    Historic Peace Accord Signed: Delay 30 minutes.
    Major Plane Crash (over 100 dead): Brief moment of silence for victims.
    Minor Plane Crash (99 or fewer dead): Pretend nothing happened.

  46. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “I missed the opening but I couldn’t even watch the Emmies because they were so bad, all the skits the presenters were doing before handing out awards were PAINFUL… no wonder they’re stuck doing TV.”
    then how did you know it was painful if you couldn’t watch? 😛
    Seriously, I can’t believe this plane thing is even an issue. I can understand the familes and friends being upset, but they probably represent about .0000001 of the population. I doubt many people even blinked twice (especially considering not that many people watched the emmys to begin with)

  47. David Poland says:

    For me, it still has a lot to do with the gag itself. It wasn’t a plane crash joke in any way. If it had been a more accurate take on the Lost crash, it might have been awkward… the plane broke apart, people sucked to their deaths, etc.
    But it is turbulence followed by the guy getting in an overhead bin and turning up on the island.
    And again, tragic as that crash was, it wasn’t a mid-air crash. It was a runway crash.
    I feel your discomfort, Crash. But…

  48. T.H.Ung says:

    NBC made a statement apologizing, no press release huh?, just a statement — what over the phone? How does that work.

  49. Cadavra says:

    A very important factor of any joke is the underlying intent: does it mean to cause offense? In this case, clearly not–it was spoofing LOST, not the KY crash, which obviously occurred after the bit had been taped and edited. Unfortunate timing, to be sure, but hardly a cause for outrage.

  50. T.H.Ung says:

    You can’t fight people’s gut, this has been beaten to a pulp. Either you were offended or you weren’t. Or you’re neutral, or you wish people could distinguish and put their gut in check. It is a PR pock against NBC, they had fall out to deal with. As tedious as it would have been, they could have modified the intro or modified the machine code to truncate the opening, i.e. bit the bullet, made the call and paid the price of changing it — that they couldn’t SEE IT coming is hard to believe, because they are in the image business — it was sort of lazyiness and ball dropping and people not answering blackberry messages and phone tag that led to this not getting kicked up the food chain.

  51. palmtree says:

    “You can’t fight people’s gut”
    If you’ve been watching the excessive coverage of the plane crash and then saw the Emmys, maybe it would offend you. If you watched the Emmys and then found out about the plane crash later, it probably would not. It’s about perspective.

  52. David Poland says:

    THUng…if you think this wasn’t Jeff Zucker’s call, you would be sorely mistaken. They had more than 6 hours to discuss this. And you can be sure that they did, even though they will never admit it.
    Wait for a long interview with Conan in 6 years and it will all be clear.

  53. T.H.Ung says:

    I hope you are right that Zucker remembered the taped segments he approved or got the call/email. “Jeff, do we run the turbulance? Do we warn affiliates?”

  54. Crash115 says:

    Someone made a judgement call…and like most “judgement calls” there will be those who agree and those who disagree. My opinion is that it was not an Offensive, malicious, intentially painful skit. It was meant to be funny. It was meant only as a playful spoof of Lost, and it worked well as part of the running gag trying to get Conan to the Emmy’s. The only real guilt lies in a case of unfortunate timing. Timing is the key issue. They had approximately 13 hours to decide whether the broadcast of a joke (however harmless in intent and execution) would possibly make the grief of a 49 families any greater. I’m sure there was a great deal of behind the scene debate. Much like there has been debate here. I’m sure the winning arguement…again, like here…is that it was “just a joke.” I agree completely. It was just a JOKE. My view is that if it caused one more tear for one single person on that day, it wasn’t really worth the laugh.

  55. Stella's Boy says:

    So now you are saying that to prevent even one person from being sad, it should not have aired? I just don’t understand that. Isn’t that getting carried away just a tad? How often would a network (or whomever) be required to alter something in order to avoid offending or upsetting even one person? Last night ABC ran a special about some cult called The Family that apparently sexual abused children for years, and possibly still is. I imagine a victim of sexual abuse could become upset watching a show like that. Maybe it shouldn’t have aired.

  56. jeffmcm says:

    I’m sure the tradeoff between a single tear and re-editing an expensive opening sequence was one that NBC was comfortable making.

  57. Crash115 says:

    It’s a cold, cold world we live in.

  58. jeffmcm says:

    Not really. I think the ‘just one person’ excuse is such a blanket way to think of things that it takes all complexity out of the equation.

  59. Cadavra says:

    Right. Turner is now cutting smoking scenes out of hundreds of vintage WB and MGM cartoons because ONE PERSON in England bitched about it. Sheesh.

  60. RDP says:

    No matter what you do, someone, somewhere is going to be offended/harmed/whatever.
    From kind of being on the other side, I recall several years back the day after a very close friend of mine died unexpectedly, the Buffy episode “The Body” aired for the first time. I had to turn it off because I was not prepared for what was a fairly realistic portrayal of people dealing with someone close to them dying unexpectedly.
    Now, there’s no way that the WB could’ve known that I had lost someone close to me the day before, but even if they had and could’ve prevented that one extra reminder – that one extra tear – should they have?
    And if they should have, how quickly do we get to the point where we can’t show anything at all because it causes someone, somewhere a little extra sadness?

  61. Crash115 says:

    At any given time, there are people hurting. Somewhere in the world, a person dies every 2 seconds. Expand that to include the grief caused by those deaths, and there is a lot of pain going on. I lost my best friend to a drunk driver’s recklessness, so I am always sensitive to that. We can’t protect everyone from what they find sensitive. Pain is a part of life. A parent who has lost a small child probably hurts everytime they hear another child’s laughter. It’s unavoidable.
    Still, this was not a Single death. The image of that plane wreckage had played across tv screens most of the day last Sunday. The loss of 49 lives is a National News story. If it was debated by the producers of the Emmy show whether to edit the sketch, then they should have erred on the side of humanity. To simply say, you can’t be too sensitive, is not a good answer.
    The skit could have been edited very simply, with little loss of humor or cost. Keep the first part of the plane skit…stay with Conan until he says “what could possibly go wrong?” Then cut away to him coming out of the water. You avoid the Turbulance, the image of bodies thrown about on a plane, and probably gain a bigger laugh.

  62. T.H.Ung says:

    DP’s post and comment reads like NBC, Zucker in particular, considered the circumstances and gave it the go ahead and made the correct choice. NF’s post (I hate to bring her up here, but she’s the counterpoint) reads like they didn’t and made the wrong “choice” — it’s hard to choose when you don’t think. A classic case of “group think,” good old group fucking think. Zucker, hand your hat to Anne Sweeney.

  63. palmtree says:

    “Keep the first part of the plane skit…stay with Conan until he says “what could possibly go wrong?” Then cut away to him coming out of the water.”
    That doesn’t make any sense visually. It would only make sense if you knew he was in the water because the plane suffered turbulence and crashed…which you didn’t necessarily. One solution to this would be maybe if they had ADR-ed him saying “that plane crash sucked” but then we’d run into the one-tear issue again of hearing those words…on top of having to remix the damn thing…easier to type in a comments section of a blog than done.
    Btw, if you believe in sensitivity, why is your name Crash? Seems pretty ironic.

  64. Crash115 says:

    I think anyone watching the Emmy’s would have realized the plane crashed without further explanation (it was a clear reference to LOST, and didn’t have to show the turbulance or the crash to make that point)…but I am often guilty of having more faith in the intelligence of others than I should.
    As for my name, I have used this log in name for years, in reference to my computer experiences (and a more subtle reference to a favorite band “Crash Test Dummies”). It is pretty ironic, I agree, considering how this particular situation seems to have become my personal cause.

  65. Stella's Boy says:

    “but I am often guilty of having more faith in the intelligence of others than I should.”
    Amen to that.

  66. T.H.Ung says:

    Crash, call the NBC switchboard and leave a message for Jeff Zucker. Tell him he sucks and deserves to be in 4th place, and Anne Sweeney never would have allowed it to happen and her good judgement is the reason ABC is #1. It’ll be very cathartic for you, I am sure.

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