Good comedians are not only funny, but extremely profound. Previously I referred to the brilliant comedian Shelley Berman on the “M” word, but when it comes to profundity there were none better than George Carlin. George’s routines on words and phrases helped skyrocket him to the top of his profession. Probably his most classic rift was on “oxymorons,” you know, a combination of contradictory words, like “jumbo shrimp,” “same difference” and, of course, “military intelligence.” Well, if George was alive today, I’m sure he would top his list with “broadcast journalism.”
I was lucky. I learned my profession from seasoned newsmen who knew and respected journalism for what it was always meant to be: “writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation.” Then, in the late 50s and early 60s, the public started to tune into the news on TV instead of opening a paper, and people like John Cameron Swayze, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley became show biz celebrities, giving birth to a golem who took the form of “broadcast journalism.” The monster, like “the blob” in the Steve McQueen movie of the same name, spread rapidly until it became the all-inclusive ”News Media” and its evil twin, “Social Media” – and the rest is history.