In Chapter 7 of Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman brings up the idea of the news as entertainment and the idea that newscasters are basically actors. He says that they have to appear “ likable” as well as “credible” and this is almost entirely based on their looks. This is not the first time I've thought about this idea really, but I think it is the first time I thought about it in this way.
Some of you might remember a news story that got a lot of attention last year of a Newscaster’s response to a letter calling her fat.
This video, the anchor’s response, only really addressed part of the problem. She talks about the damage to herself and to teens, but it takes much more of an anti-bullying stance. When I first saw the video, I was outraged just like the many others that posted on various social media sites and wrote letters, but I didn't really think about the video as an example of public discourse or think about the function it serves.
The more I think about it the more I wonder if this isn't more of an attack on the letter writer than bullying. What was the purpose of the news story? Did it change anything? I know I didn't really think about bullying as much as I thought about her personal story. Could this newscast have changed the way people think about this issue? And did her appearance and the way she presented herself have any effect on how you thought about the story?