Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

LiveBlogging: Tom Brokaw's Final Newscast on NBC

Q. Why am I doing this?
A. I'm not sure. But maybe it'll be fun.
Q. Do you ever watch Tom Brokaw?
A. No, but I figure this is like an "event." Maybe there'll be balloons.
Q. Or maybe it'll just be a normal newscast, eh?
A. Maybe. But I hope not. That would make this post pretty boring.
Q. No kidding.
A. Maybe we should stop the prologue now and turn on the TV.
Q. Yeah, probably.

6:30. 40 years of Holiday Hess Trucks! Or at least on the Boston NBC affiliate, that's what we've got. I wonder if that's national or not.

6:31. They're gonna need to strip "Tom Brokaw" from the logo. I don't think I've watched any channel's evening news in a long, long time.

6:32. They haven't acknowledged it's his last day. Yet. That's too bad. I hope they do by the end. He doesn't seem natural. He's "announcing" the news more than he's really talking to anyone, it seems. Is this how he sounds in a conversation? It sounds stilted.

6:34. Whereas the reporters in the field sound much more natural and conversational. Although, I just figured out why Brokaw gets paid so much. "Jim Mcleshefsky"? Is that the correspondent's name? That's what it sounded like, and that's a hard word to say. Just saying that guy's name right is worth a couple million bucks a year, right?

6:35. Brokaw moves his head but not his body when he talks. His suit stays completely still. Maybe he's not really wearing a suit, and they've just superimposed his head onto a suit. You think that's possible? You think anyone would know if that's what they did? Would it be a scandal? Bigger than Dan Rather's scandal, or smaller? Is the fake-suit scandal what's leading him to retire?

6:36. Not to take my attention away from Tom Brokaw, but John Danforth talks too slow. His one meaningless sentence about danger being dangerous slowed the whole pace of the newscast.

6:37. "U.S. military intervention" has to be one of the easiest phrases for a news director to find video footage to place behind. I mean, you can show anything and no one's going to complain. I bet there's a whole reel of "stock military footage" that they go to all the time for generic stuff.

6:38. Brokaw looks down at the end of all of his sentences. It looks unnatural. Like the teleprompter is moving closer and he needs to see those last couple of words. Maybe the fake suit is getting in the way.

6:39. "Peaceful nations must keep the peace." Excellent, Mr. President.

6:40. Nope, easiest phrase for news director to find footage: "World War II." I think being the guy who finds the stock footage for newscasts would be a horribly boring job.

6:41. Ukraine? I always thought it was "The Ukraine." Guess not.

6:42. Face lift, or no face lift? Not too many wrinkles for a 64-year-old.

6:45. Back from commercial. Online credit reports. Hmmm. I just did that last week. Why's he smiling? Credit isn't funny? Funnier than Iraq, I guess. You think Tom Brokaw knows his credit score? I bet it's pretty high. What's starting today about free credit? You can already get free credit reports on Even I know that. The whole report is complaining about ads on the website? What's the big deal? And spam e-mail? Yeah, that's bad... but why was this called an "in-depth" report? It was pretty shallow. News must be slow.

6:47. 1/3 of all men 30-34 and 1/4 of all women have never been married. Thanks for the factoid, NBC research bureau.

6:48. OK. Sounds like he'll have some thoughts about retirement coming up later. But first, a heartwarming story about people in hospitals. Or at least that what it looks like. Oh, but first, another drug commercial. Last break had Lance Armstrong. This one's got a Lipitor commercial. "Ask your doctor...." If I was your doctor, I'd be annoyed if someone asked me about a random drug. More drugs. Bayer Low-Dose. I bet low-dose isn't any cheaper than high-dose even though it's cheaper for Bayer. Does eating Stouffer's grilled entrees increase your need for Lipitor?

6:50. They sent Brian Williams to Iraq right before he takes over for Brokaw? I bet Brokaw sent him there, just for kicks. "Hey, Brian, I know you're excited about taking over for me... but first, how about you go to Baghdad for a little while. Hope nothin' happens to you. He he he." Oh, wait, he's not in Iraq. He's at Walter Reed Hospital. That's in Washington, no? I'm not listening well enough. I'm waiting for Brokaw's final words. Maybe he got Jerry Springer to write them for him, like Springer's "final thoughts" at the end of all his talk show episodes.

6:54. Wow, Brian Williams is wearing an awfully nice suit. His suit is nicer than Tom's. I wonder if that's on purpose.

6:55. And, coming up after some more drug ads, Brian Williams reaches through the split screen and drags Tom Brokaw off. Procrit. One-a-day Weight Smart ("the first multivitamin with EGCG"). What the heck is EGCG? Why is the Postal Service advertising? "Mail? I forgot there's mail! Wow, mail!" Nexium. How many different medicines are there, and why do we want people calling their doctors. Shouldn't we rely on doctors, rather than actors, to tell us what drugs we need. All I know about Nexium from the ad is that it can make my esophagus feel better. Maybe my esophagus is what's keeping me from greater heights. How can I be sure? Should I ask my doctor?

6:57. Not leaving Tom much time, sadly.

6:58. "It's not the questions that get us in trouble, it's the answers." "And no one person has all the answers." "And buy my series of books on the Greatest Generation." It's not the questions that get us in trouble, it's the answers. Sounds nice, but what does it mean? I don't really understand that. Plus, I think the use of the word forbearance was a bit excessive. This isn't cable, Tom. You've got kids watching. Forbearance? I don't even know if I know what that means.

6:59. What the heck is this bizarre song closing us out? The photo montage is nice, though too short, but this 30-second song about Tom Brokaw... what *was* that? Odd.

7:00. Okay, well, that was uneventful. I like Tom Brokaw. I don't know how relevant the evening news is anymore, though. With the Internet and cable... I'm not sure. Certainly the "in-depth" report on credit scores was pretty useless, and really everything was pretty surface. All they get is 22 minutes or so, and the only thing I really learned was that I should ask my doctor about Celebrex, Lipitor, Procrit, Nexium, One-A-Day Linoleum, Three-A-Day Byzantium, and Twelve-A-Day Cerebrumum, to maximize brainium activity.

Q. So, was this exercise worth it?
A. I don't know. Maybe. Probably not.
Q. Gonna live-blog Rather's last newscast in March?
A. Maybe. We'll see.
Q. How about live-blogging C-Span for a while?
A. No thanks.