Thursday, July 09, 2015

Family Business

"Never tell anyone outside the Family what you are thinking again."

-- Don Vito Corleone, The Godfather
There is an interview in The Daily Beast with longtime NBC teevee anchor Tom Brokaw which I commend to your attention.

Mr. Brokaw has received a diagnosis of terminal cancer, so his perspective is that of a man whose departure from this world is now in sight the interview, and he is very candid about his illness, his family, his childhood and his views on death and dying.

He is. in fact, quite very candid about everything...

...except for the management housekeeping details of the media corporation which has made Mr. Brokaw wealthy enough to ensure that his family will be well taken care of the the next few generations.

That shit is nunnya damn business:
He occupies what he proudly calls “maybe the best office in the building, a corner office on the fifth floor,” and he’s viewed by colleagues as a sort of paterfamilias and corporate conscience. He was an especially influential player during the Brian Williams fiasco, in which Brokaw’s successor for the past decade lost his anchor chair over tall tales about his adventures in journalism.

“It’s time to move on,” Brokaw says, by way of deflecting my questions about the messy episode and his reported role in answering requests for advice from higher-ups at NBC Universal and its parent company, Comcast, on how it might be fixed.

“I’m really not commenting on it, except to say there’s now been a resolution,” Brokaw says. “My whole concentration at the moment is on Lester Holt, who I think the world of, and keeping Nightly at the top of its game.”

Brokaw adds: “We have a terrific staff of people around the world, and that’s my real concentration at the moment. Brian has now gone public, and he has a new assignment [as a live breaking news anchor on MSNBC and, occasionally, as needed, on NBC]. We have to move on…Listen, these are all private conversations and I don’t want to go beyond that.”

When I press him to be more forthcoming, Brokaw laughs and says: “I’ve been on both sides of this equation for a long time. I know how persistent you are, but you’re not gonna win this one.”
Actually, Tom -- may I call you Tow? -- given the enormous influence which powerful media corporations now wield over our lives, our public policy discussions and our political system, and given how completely broken our media has become, an actual reporter might think that reporting on the petty tyrannies, corporate cowardice, fiascos and, generally, the unconscionable mass-capitulation of our Fourth Estate to the interests of the wealthy and powerful -- a lot of which take place within pissing distance of your "best office in the building" -- is, y'know, news.

And pretty important news at that.

Or, in the words of fictional reporter, Carl Kolchak

"Now, that is news, Vincenzo. News! And we are a newspaper! We are supposed to print news, not suppress it"
But of course, Mr. Brokaw is not a reporter.

 Mr. Brokaw is a middleman: the valued employee of a Family of corporations.

Valued and gifted with wealth beyond the dreams of avarice and the finest office in the building because he knows damn well that you never takes sides with anyone against the interests of the Family.

1 comment:

Mike Lumish said...

Kolchak: now that was television.

I'm trying to see way to slip the Pentangeli suicide story into the larger Brokaw/Godfather motif, seeing as how the corporation is taking care of the family and all, but it doesn't quite work.