Since its premiere in 1986, this Emmy-winning documentary series has presented hundreds of hours comprising profiles of outstanding American cultural artists. Past subjects have included ... See full summary »
The Moorish general Othello is manipulated into thinking that his new wife Desdemona has been carrying on an affair with his lieutenant Michael Cassio when in reality it is all part of the scheme of a bitter ensign named Iago.
The Best Evening News Report in the US--Only the BBC can top it among English-speaking news broadcasts
Currently called The Newshour with Jim Lehrer (which may change when
Lehrer steps down), this is by far the most-informative and
least-biased news report on American television. Five days a week, the
Newshour is the true heir to the CBS Evening News with the Walter
Cronkite. The reporting is first-rate, the issues are the most
important, and the hour steers clear of opinionated commentary, except
on Fridays. Briefly, for about 20 minutes every Friday, Mark Shields
and David Brooks provide observations regarding the past week's
The format was changed recently. Originally, a news summary began the
hour and was followed by anywhere between three and five in-depth
stories, some of which were summarized at the beginning. The financial
crisis of late 2008 forced the Newshour to revise its format. Now the
top stories may include in-depth analysis immediately following before
moving to the other stories not necessarily included in the summary.
The Newshour ends with its recap of major stories.
Unlike the other major networks which might give blow-by-blow accounts
when a celebrity or politician is involved with scandal or unexpected
death, the Newshour remains with those stories that can impact the
lives of everyday citizens, both in the United States and worldwide.
CNN, one of the better cable news organizations, along with MSNBC and
Fox devoted enormous airtime to the death of Michael Jackson in late
June of 2009. Not that his death was not newsworthy, but the media
coverage of Jackson was quite excessive. Many other events relevant to
the state of the nation and the world deserved to trump the expounding
upon every nuance regarding Jackson's passing. Did we really need to
see continual interviews with Jackson's family and closest associates
for weeks after his death? And as someone devoted to social causes,
Jackson may have disapproved of the television news over-coverage of
his death. Only the Newshour kept up with other stories, such as the
Sotomayer appointment to the US Supreme Court and the Health Care Bill.
On Fridays, the Newshour includes political analysis by journalists
Mark Shields and David Brooks, two of the best commentators on the
airwaves, their only rivals David Gergen (who may be the absolute best
political commentator in the business) and Jeffrey Toobin, both of whom
work for CNN. Instead of the ranting and ravings of people like Rush
Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly (who are really entertainers and not
journalists), the format is a discussion with Jim Lehrer (or another
Newshour regular) asking questions of the commentators to guide the
conversation. David Brooks is a Republican and leans slightly to the
right and Mark Shields is a feisty Democrat who leans to the left.
Since Brooks joined Shields in the early 2000's (not to be confused
with Brooke Shields), replacing Republican spokesperson Paul Gigot, the
Friday analysis has improved by leaps and bounds, bringing the quality
back to where it was with David Gergen and Mark Shields in the early
1990's. (Gergen left the show in the mid-1990's when then-president
Bill Clinton asked him to join his team at the White House.) Shields
and Brooks appear to respect and like one another despite their
political disagreements; they rarely jump over each other when the
other is speaking and always maintain an air of mutual esteem, unlike
other political debates where the participants would probably wield
baseball bats if given the chance. Shields and Brooks recognize that
they will disagree at times but their job is to present both sides of
the political debate in the most civilized manner possible. They have
honed their commentary to where they feel comfortable criticizing their
respective parties and members rather than simply paying lip-service to
For example, Brooks became interested in Barack Obama long before he
made a run for the White House. Shields has great respect for the
republican John McCain. The two contribute immensely to the public's
need to better understand the current political underpinnings of the
climate of Washington DC. Few do it better. One of the most interesting
observations in recent memory was Shields' criticism of John Kerry's
lack of message in his 2004 US presidential campaign. Both acknowledge
and respect the other's opinions, which is the kind of political
discourse we need more of in the United States.
The only advice I can give: switch from Fox, CNN and MSNBC once in
awhile and try the Newshour. And try to catch the Friday commentary
with Shields and Brooks. You can always switch it back to Larry King if
things get too intellectual for you.
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