Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tim Robbins FTW

I hate to do next to nothing for weeks and then throw out two posts in the same hour but when it rains it pours and I just read about this speech that Tim Robbins gave to the National Association of Broadcasters yesterday. As usual, he owned. I don't have text of the whole thing but I've found parts of it here or there (video here).
He started out by apologizing to the right wing nutjobs on the radio:
Robbins at first hesitated over whether to deliver the speech he had prepared, thinking he might serve the audience better by submitting to a Q&A session with a moderator.

But after some back and forth with the audience, which encouraged him to go with the speech, Robbins obliged. He launched into an apology to conservative talkers Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly "and Laura whatshername," noting that all had labeled him traitorous or unpatriotic for having called for more time to be given to U.N. weapons inspectors before deploying military force against Iraq.

"They said I was a dupe of left-wing appeasement ... and how right they were," Robbins quipped. "Had I known then of all the smiling faces" that now populate Iraq, "the wildfire of democracy that is spreading throughout the Middle East," he would have not spoken as he did, he said.

He added that he can see now that his words were indeed "traitorous, unfounded and irresponsible, so I apologize to the talkradio geniuses."

He then took on the industry itself:
The fun started to get uncomfortable when Robbins referred to both the Reagan and Clinton administrations having eased limitations on media ownership -- all to the "benefit" of communities, which then no longer had to listen to diverse, complex opinions "or alternative rock." NAB has supported relaxing ownership rules.

Robbins peaked with what he called a three-pronged proposal that broadcasters should adopt in order to eliminate "confusing, complex issues" such as diversity of thought and opinion.

"First, erase all diversity," he said. "You only need two opinions. Second, stay focused on sex scandals. We don't want any kind of reporting outside the soundbite. I don't know about you, but show me a drunk starlet getting out of a car with no panties on, and I think the world is a better place. Third, more distraction. The economy sucks? Chaos in Iraq? It is a moral responsibility to distract."

Robbins stepped on sensitive ground when noting that "just when we were getting close to a national music playlist, along comes satellite radio that actually plays music people want to hear."

I admit that I'm a sucker for stuff like this and Stephen Colbert destroying the media in a similar type speech a few years ago. The article said that about 2/3 of the crowd gave Robbins a standing ovation and I think a lot of them would like to do their job well but they're beaten down by their corporate taskmasters who would have them covering Britney's latest stint in rehab or playing Creed and Nickleback every hour on the hour. But, anyway, good job, Tim. I remember when you were getting hammered as a clueless Hollywood liberal in the run up to the war but...suprise!...you got it right better than the media did. In fact, here's what he said at the beginning of his speech:
When I first received the invitation I was a little confused, because the last time I had contact with the national media I seem to remember they were telling me to shut the hell up.

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