Shaming the Devil: Nolan’s Lippmann vs. O’Reilly’s Briskin

I was surprised to learn on Tuesday about the dismissal of Barry Nolan by Comcast for his quiet, persistent protest against the selection of Bill O’Reilly for the Governor’s Award by the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), Boston/New England Chapter.

As fortune would have it, I was able to touch base with Nolan as well as read up on the events surrounding his dismissal. The result is a piece appearing over on ePluribus Media today called Newsman Fights Clown As Thieves and Pimps Look On.

Feel free to check it out over there. If you’d like to comment here, or learn where the title is derived from without having to go read the piece, make the jump below the fold.

The title comes from three quotes used near the beginning:


“If only I could get Jim Briskin on my network, Hada thought gloomily. The ranking TV news clown, so popular, with his flaming scarlet wig and genial, informal patter.”
         — Philip K. Dick, “What’ll We Do With Ragland Park?” (1963).

“The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”
         — Hunter S. Thompson, 1985

“There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil – remain detached from the great.”
         — Walter Lippmann, 1920


In the analogy I sought to establish, O’Reilly represents Jim Briskin, the media and the media infrastructure represents the “thieves and pimps” alluded to by Thompson and Nolan is cast as the generic seeker of truth in Journalism that Walter Lippmann says will “shame the devil.”

It’s a curt yet compound analogy — one I didn’t make on my own; I had assistance with the quotes. They do strike at the core point of the piece, however: the US media and the infrastructure surrounding it has gone off the rails, succumbing to the allure of sensationalism and losing sight of the true purpose of journalism.

Hat-tip to dorothyinchina for tipping me off and putting me in touch with Mr. Nolan; without her, this piece would not have been possible.

Note: I also posted this blurb over on DailyKos, but it fell like a rock. If you feel like it, please Rec it over there — and you can also buzz it if you have a BuzzFlash account.  Thank you.