TV or not TV

Letter
Subj: TV or not TV
Date: 08/09/95 
From: El Polvo  
  To: JOMAXSOLO


Moosie (means CAT in Navajo), Hey you're right! The best time on the boat is night anyway . . . we can look up at the stars, play the Sailboat and the Ocean Waves audio tapes, pull the wool down over our Ayes Cap'n, and who's going to know the difference???We could be in the Caribbean (during a rare cold spell). Oh BTW, you can ship that titanium Belushi here to NM till you get a room built for him up there. Had a good laugh at your KGGM story - common experience I hear. My good friend John told me the same story six years ago when I asked why he left KGGM. He was there in the mid 70's. John is so polite, however, that his version of the story was simply . . . Uhhh . . . Bruce and I did not get along very well. We've really got some changes going on at GOV. The manager of 13 years who built the place from the ground up, left about 2 months ago (the politics got to him). They hired a guy from Chicago. I'm not sure he has government access television figured out yet. What it's supposed to be is an unedited view of local government, its people and its services. We cover City Council, County Commission and other govt. meetings live, and we record the Mayor's and other's press conferences in their entirety (taped as live) for replay. We tape studio shows with department representatives sharing info of all sorts about services provided by govt. and we make production docs and promos that educate and inform citizens about the city and county govt. The Mayor (pretty decent guy, I must say) has started a monthly (sort of) live call-in studio show on the channel. His media advisor (hard hitting ex-network-affiliate- investigative-reporter) brings some footage borrowed from the six o'clock news and some graphic (dead-kids-gang-murders) police photos to use to "super" some crime stats over for his show on community policing. I record her voice over for the roll-in / prepack and she tells me which sound bites she wants from the news footage and says to use the dead kid bodies at the end for impact. I says, "sorry this isn't HARD COPY and we don't use shock journalism on the channel." She says, "Well I realize it's a little graphic, but the Mayor really wants to make a point and he wants you to use the dead kid photos." I really can't see him making this kind of demand. The Mayor has hired her specifically to advise him on this sort of thing because she has 20 years of TV experience and he ain't got none. So I says, " Well I ain't gonna insert these police photos of some Albuquerquean Mom and Dad's kid laid out bloody an' dead on the carpet on some video background for crime statistics and show them on GOV. GOV is an entity that I have helped shape and it has character, it has dignity, it has compassion, it has manners and it has standards . . . I'm responsible to that and this is contrary to those values." "Well it's WHAT THE MAYOR WANTS so do it anyway." says she. As if it were important that City Hall shock the public into realizing there may be a problem with youth and crime. (The public has been pleading with govt. for years to acknowledge the severity of the problem.) So, of course, the EDL (edit decision list) lands in the new Manager's lap and he rightly says to me, "You're right. This kind of graphic display has no place on our channel and I'll tell MY BOSS that we're not going to use the dead kid photos." {a period of time greater than ten minutes but much less than one day passes} Soon the Manager (after a briefing with HIS BOSS) is saying to me, "Well personally, I'd just as soon throw this whole piece in the trash but it's the Mayor's show and what they want to put in it is their business, so go ahead and edit in the dead kid photos. "Excuse me," says I, but obviously I have not made myself understood. Out of respect for the family of the dead kid, out of courtesy to the viewers of GOV and out of loyalty to the character of the station, there is no way in hell I am going to insert those graphic dead kid police photos in this piece. I am a self employed contractor, you are my client and it is my wish to afford you with the finest service and utmost satisfaction. Unfortunately, this is not a service that I can provide. Perhaps I could refer you to a competitor?" Some stammering and mumbling about my usefulness then occurred. This afternoon I edited the piece and at the end where the dead kid photos were supposed to go I dissolved to a B&W shot of a cemetery, making the same point without putting a dead teenager's body on the tube. HARD COPY would fire me in a minute! Kathleen has been begging me to let us drive to Montana in her new Lexus. "MONTANA? What the hell would we do in Montana? We don't know anyone in Montana." (If you see a fat guy in the passenger seat of a green Lexus, you don't know me - right?) El Por Favor