Thursday, May 15, 2008

Now That's Effed Up: Sue Simmons and the Negro Moment at 11...

By now EVERYONE has seen or heard about this one (and hopefully it's still here when you click the screen above). When I read about it, I didn't think much about it, assuming that is was an innocuous comment that she mumbled under her breath and someone with good hearing happened to overhear and transcribe for everyone. And despite the number of people who called in after seeing it happen (around 125 from the earlier reports), I still didn't think much...

...until I told my friend Alcatraz about it, and suggested that he search on YouTube for the inevitable clip. Alcatraz is a hard-edged cat by most standards, so I was piqued when his response after viewing the clip was, "OH, WOW!!!" He turned it up on his speakerphone so I could hear it; me not having a computer in front of me at the time...

Wowzers...! A new national icon for precipitously dropping standards, not to mention fresh meat for the late night hosts, has been newly introduced. Unfair as this may seem, and mind you I have a lot of respect for Sue Simmons as a newscaster for her disarmingly charming demeanor, you know that this is going to be analyzed and overdone like prime rib on a charcoal grill in Uncle Bob's backyard. 

She's not done per se; Arthur Chi'en did the same thing three years ago on CBS Channel 2 and now he's on CW11 after they "overreacted" by firing him (he won a ruling against them in which the court agreed they should have instead disciplined him), but if memory serves me correctly, the circumstances were a bit different; some idiots promoting Opie & Anthony's show snuck in behind him while he was doing his live report, while Ms. Simmons, umm... was in the studio teasing a report. No matter how annoying Chuck may be by not paying attention (but I guarantee ol' boy's eyes will be glued on her the moment he looks away from either the camera or the telescreen imbedded in his desk!), this was certainly not a duress situation.  Unless... 

There is much speculation that she'll ride out the rest of her contract and summarily be replaced by someone younger and cheaper. NBC's news department is currently under new management, and that likely means new faces and lower budgets; Simmons and Chuck Scarborough are the highest-paid local anchors in the regional news industry, and that means a lot in the current economy. Simmons did herself no favors, even if it was a mistake, conservative news programs (and make no mistake, they're all extremely competitive and conservative to a larger degree than they would have you think) don't take controversy of this sort likely. Arthur Chi'en, who has every right to comment on this, has smartly chosen not to say a word.

Let's get into deeper questions, though. Did it bother you, and why? Did it not bother you, and why? Does this indicate a deeper and darker complex of personalities and intrigues within the world of broadcast news, or was this simply an isolated incident? What does it say about yourself and your view on society if you think this was an important issue or a non-issue? As the standard-bearer of all present-day media would say, inquiring minds want to know...

2 comments:

Matt said...

I'm just amazed that there are still people offended when someone uses the word "fuck" without being censored on the air. I have to think that the people who wrote in and complained are the kind of people who just get off on calling out other peoples' mistakes. Seriously, why is "fuck" such a big deal? Unlike most of the words people can't say on TV, it's not derogatory against any group like women or minorities or homosexuals.

George Carlin famously spoofed that it is, in fact, the most versatile word in the whole language! "It will announce the content of your character immediately!" To me, this is like when people complained to my middle school principal because, when watching Forest Gump in history class, the teacher fast-forwarded through the sex scene and someone may have seen something. The horror! Some people just like to rabble-rabble along because they can.

There, I made a comment without making an Anchorman reference...

~mehmattski

macedonia said...

i'm over here laughing hysterically and trying to figure out why. i'm not going to get overanalytical about this, as much as some would like for me to.

every now and again, reminders that we're all human rise up to the surface. we are all multidimensional as human beings, meaning that none of us are one way all the time. and while it's an anchorperson's job to be cool, calm, and collected all the time and to reserve judgement, that is NOT the nature of human beings.

sue simmons was put on blast not only for her personal faux pas, but the fact that said faux pas is carried on analog and HDTV signals reaching millions. and it's a lot harder to deny stuff when ERRBODY done seen it.

i laugh because it's out of the ordinary for her in my mind, but that's only because i see the professional side on the news. that other side was captured live the other day, something you don't expect to see, but we all have that side. i've been caught out there in that same fashion myself...just not to such a large degree with all five boroughs watching and then some. i laugh because i feel for her and can see myself in that same situation.

plus, i'm imagining what was going through Chuck's mind when that was going on.

to be real, other public heads have said worse on camera. they may not have cursed, but it may have been racially foul or some sexist nonsense. and that would offend me more.