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Marianne Paskowski

Unleashed & Unvarnished on High-Def

November 14, 2006 6:51 PM

Unfortunately, I won’t be among HDNet’s 4 million subs to see how former CBS anchor Dan Rather fares tonight on his maiden voyage of “Dan Rather Reports.” But that’s only because I don’t have a high-def TV set. I would watch if I did.

Now this might tick off Mark Cuban who owns HDNet. And, if it does, who cares? He’s rich, famous and young, and I am none of the above. But I think it’s rather cruel to subject a 75-year-old man to the uber-scrutiny of high-def cameras that show all. No amount of Botox or pancake makeup can hide the assaults of gravity on aging human beings, and Mr. Rather is either a very brave or desperate man to subject himself to this ordeal, especially with so few eyeballs presently watching. I worry that more people will tune in to see how he looks rather than to hear what he actually says.

High-def, I agree, is great for sports, indeed a mesmerizing experience to watch jocks sweating, spitting, scowling and scratching before your very eyes. But for news? Aside from the voyeuristic sideshow of seeing how Rather comes off on high-def, actually what I most want is to hear, and not necessarily see, is if Rather lives up to his own hype. And if he does, here’s a suggestion to Cuban: Rename the show “Dan Rather Unleashed & Unvarnished.”

In commenting for a Reuters report about the state of U.S. journalism, Rather said, “In some ways, we, and I include myself in this, have lost our guts. We need a spine transplant.” And I agree. But I guess I’ll never know because I can’t hear or see the show for now. So let me know if you watch tonight, and weigh in here with your comments. A lot of us want to know.


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Comments (6)


Wow - what a presentation by Dan Rather! HDNet always has vivid shows whether they are travel or concerts and whatever else. Lets get real! Although we can see Dan's age but it is a wisdom all over his face and a very well designed presentation from many years in reporting.

Dan is beginning the national conversation that should be happening about really supporting the veterans. The show covers a series of stories about wounded returning home and going off to the hard reality of the Bush Iraq war (my clarification and not Dan's - shall we not forget he got us into it).

The intense clarity of the families living around the veterans - children, wives and husbands - dedicated to serving their country and fully exhibiting extensive courage. A most wonderful thing.

Yet, does the Veterans Administration have the funding that is needed to support our troops? Dan finds that some say they are short $3 Billion per year and that the healthcare for the current 7 million vets may cost $100 Billion over time and could be forgotten when the war is over.

90% survive injury in the war and will need lenghty or life time healthcare. Many have brain trauma and suffer loss of limbs not to mention post traumatic stress.

Did you know there are 40,000 non-residents serving in the military and that 7% of the frontline miltary in Iraq are not citzens of this country but are trying to become citizens. Bush signed a bill that helps them get to citizenship faster.

Don't forget Tammy Duckworth who lost both legs flying a Black Hawk in Iraq. She ran for congress but lost in an attempt to try to support her fellow vets. I hope she is back in 2008.

There is a looming crisis for our Vets and Dan Rather makes a great presentation on this problem and HDnet is the new perfect vehicle for making these points in perfect clarity. HD brings you right into the situations and Dan is right there for the new wave of broadcasting.

Well, thats my notes from the field of HDNet. /Cliff

wallace mason:

I didn't see the show, but I did see the ad with the hand grenade microphone in USA Today. Did he have an explosive interview?

Marianne Paskowski:

Thanks. First, Cliff does not work for HDNet. He's a friend, a psychometrician, yes that's a real job title, who helps companies certify their IT employees for the latest developments in software, development tests. He's wildly successful. And wildly independent.

Glad you weighed in here, Cliff, and, what you said about Rather's report tonight on the veterans of the war in Iraq. Glad to hear you saw, beyond Rather's aging face, and heard his words, and saw what were apparently moving and telling pictures, that I can only guess, high-def can capture. Time for me to catch up and upgrade to high-def. Thanks for your well written glimpse into the future of tv.

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Wallace,
Don't know you from Noah, but please check out Cliff's critique of Dan's premiere. It's an eye-opener. Thanks for checking me out, and keep coming back.

Joe Mortensen:

Loosen up, Marianne, and spring for an HD set. I hate to think that someone so preoccupied with on-camera style and wrinkles is missing the "unleashed and unvarnished."

Fact is, Rather, thankfully, was quite unleashed in reporting the plight of our nation's veterans. Too bad mainstream broadcast and cable don't have the guts to report what's really happening; it's up to a fledgling network with limited audience requiring expensive new equipment on the part of viewers. The powers that be don't care. Who in the military-industrial complex would be offended by the program, the audience being smaller than NPR's?

Throughout American history, small media usually beat their slow-moving establishment brethren to the most revealing stories: newsletters vs. the daily press, for example, or blogs vs. broadcast news. Looks Like Rather and HDNet are following that same gutsy tradition.


Marianne Paskowski:

Your spot on Joe, time to make the trek to Best Buy, one of the most intimidating stores on the planet. I like your point about how many people will never see the new Rather because they can't afford the pricey gear.But what really bugs me today, forgive the abrupt change of subject, is that not a single cable or satellite operator had the guts to launch the new global Al-Jazeera channel, one in English, that reaches 80 million viewers in just about every country but here. It launched around the world today. How parochial is that? Cable MSO's here say they don't have the broadband. I say they don't have the broad view.

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