Surprisingly, actor Tim Robbins speech on the state of broadcasting, at the National Association of Broadcaster's annual conference in Las Vegas this April, wasn't sugar coated; it didn't patronize the people in the room. Instead, Robbins humorously, and seriously, chastised his audience for permitting and creating the current atrocious state of TV.
Prior to delivering his speech, Robbins announced that he had indeed prepared his keynote, but the higher-ups might not be willing to let him deliver it. A moderator then came on stage and explained that Robbins' speech was controversial to say the least. The audience response of "free speech, free speech" ensured that Robbins quickly retook the podium.
TV that instills fear, obsession with sex-scandals, focus on right vs. left politics, and infotainment were all subjects on which Robbins justly attacked the media. While some of these criticisms left the room quiet, most of Robbins' cleverly worded speech had them laughing, a bit nervously, at themselves.
...let's stay focused on Sex Scandals. Stop with the in-depth reporting that gets outside of the sound bite. More sex scandals! Surely with a little more prying, a little more effort we can find more sexual deviants. And trust me, sexual deviancy is something we can all agree on. It's deliciously intoxicating to watch unfold. It's titillating. The absolute zenith of news, the perfect storm of reporting, the shining city on the hill in news coverage was Lewinsky vs. Clinton. Now that was fun. We couldn't get enough of that. There were salacious details, semen stains, oral sex. And the president lied.
Robbins' speech is a beautiful example of someone saying what needs to be said to the right group of people in the right manner at the right time. It's obviously unclear if his heartfelt plea for better and more responsible programing will be implemented. Nonetheless, cheers to Tim Robbins for his courageous and well spoken words. Hear the audio at The Huffington Post Read another take at The Digital Journalist