Five linkages between news and entertainment:
One of the basic troubles with radio and television news is that both instruments have grown up as an incompatible combination of show business, advertising and news. Each of the three is a rather bizarre and demanding profession. And when you get all three under one roof, the dust never settles. The top management of the networks with a few notable exceptions, has been trained in advertising, research, sales or show business. But by the nature of the coporate structure, they also make the final and crucial decisions having to do with news and public affairs. Frequently they have neither the time nor the competence to do this.
Since your new book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives,” is about great advice, imagine that your boss, Les Moonves, called you on Christmas 2009 and said: “Charlie Sheen was just arrested for holding his wife at knife point. He has a history of this sort of behavior with women, but he makes a ton of money for the network.” What do you tell him?
Have you told him as much?
No. He hasn’t really sought my advice on Charlie Sheen. I hope what Charlie Sheen did wouldn’t be consistent with the values of this network. That’s probably an unrealistic response, but that’s my initial gut reaction. Luckily, that’s not my job.
Did you feel less proud going to work at CBS knowing that he was essentially a colleague?
I don’t really consider Charlie Sheen a colleague.But news anchors and actors even belong to the same union -- which in turn supports policy initiatives to aid broadcast journalists.
Second, entertainment figures enter news and politics: Reagan and Schwarzenegger were hardly the first. In 1934, novelist Upton Sinclair ran for governor of California. And as we noted on February 18, there was a pop-culture counterattack:
the movie Dave (1993):
Third, the entertainment media are subject to certain kinds of government regulation. At a Senate hearing, Frank Zappa pushed back.
Fourth, entertainment media are often vehicles for political and social commentary. As Good as it Gets (1997) was a romantic comedy-drama, not a political movie, but it did have a message about health care delivery in the United States (at about 4:20 in the clip):
Fifth, certain kinds of works are hybrids of the two: talk radio, TV interview shows, "fake news,"
Will Rogers pioneered 20th century comedy
A certain California governor in an early comedy sketch!
A guest that you would not have expected on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.