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March 29, 2004

Hey, While I've Got Your Atten ...
News Reports for Ultra-Short Attentions
By WARREN ST. JOHN | Published: March 28, 2004

At 5:30 p.m. last Monday, Shepard Smith, the 40-year-old host of Fox News Channel's "Fox Report," was hunched over his computer in the company's bustling Midtown headquarters, poring over the script for his evening broadcast, and searching for verbs. Mr. Smith, let it be known, does not like verbs. Whenever he finds one, he crinkles his brow in disgust like a man who has discovered a dribble of food on his tie. He taps furiously at his keyboard, moves the cursor to the offending word and deletes it, or else adds "ing," turning the verb into a participle and his script into the strange shorthand that passes for English these days on cable news:

"Amazon.com celebrating a birthday! The Internet company 10 years old."

"Texas! A school bus and two other vehicles colliding in Dallas. The bus rolling over on its side."

"Outrage in the Middle East! A vow of revenge after an assassination and reportedly threatening the United States. Tonight — how real the threat?"

Shepard Smith! Explaining to a reporter, why not the verbs?

"We don't communicate in full sentences anyway," Mr. Smith said as he continued working through his script. "We don't need all those words. And it allows us to go faster."

The rest of the article seems to indicate that short bursts of speed are the way to go. That e-mail, text messages and so on are what appeals to a younger crowd. Please. I can't explain why Shepard Smith's Fox program is rthe mst popular because I have never watched it. I'm sure I've watched bits of the show but it got boring and I changed the channel. :)

Still, did you notice how many verbs Smith put into his quotes in order to .... communicate. :: ""We don't communicate in full sentences anyway."

Sure we don't. We all need to speed up our lives - everything, especially the absorption of news where we get half of the story and then get half-assed opinions (Ah, that's how blogs were born!!!)

Yeah, that's the ticket. An ill-informed voter is a ...

Note: Proving that Jon Stewart is the real King Of All Media - he and a (cute)
chick - Patty Rosborough Google tells me - hosted a show called "Short Attention Span Theater" on Comedy Central in the early 1990s.