Chapell & Associates

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jeff Jarvis takes issue with David Gregory's treatment of video vigilante Jimmy Justice in a recent today show interview.

On the Today Show this morning, David Gregory got on a high horse interviewing
Jimmy, asking whether he wasn’t just a bit obnoxious.

Well, what’s any less obnoxious about a reporter asking the same question?
That’s exactly why subjects so often think reporters are rude: they’re being
asked questions they don’t want to answer. But here’s Gregory calling a citizen
with a camera obnoxious for doing what reporters do. Maybe that’s because Jimmy
has an accent and an attitude. Gregory clearly thinks that asking the question
in a tie with a sterile TV voice is less obnoxious: more professional. Style is
substance on TV. And I can hear someone now saying that Jimmy has an ax to
grind, a bias, an agenda. Well, yes, but so does a reporter when he decides to
follow that cop and confront her about her actions; that agenda is precisely the
motivation for the question. It’s all journalism.

If they really care about watchdogging government and its abuses of power, the proper response from the Today show and any journalistic organization should be to encourage more people to do what Jimmy is doing. What’s wrong with more watchdogs on the street? Indeed, Today should hand out some video cameras or at least share a few lessons with Jimmy about how to shoot video without giving us motion sickness. And it would be generous of them to talk about Jimmy’s rights to shoot public officials’ actions in public, since those officials try to threaten and
intimidate Jimmy.

I completely understand Jimmy's frustration. And if you can look beyond the yelling, the profanity and abusive language, I think he has a solid point re: predatory ticketing practices and abuse of power by the NYPD.

But Jeff, I think you missed the boat here regarding David Gregory's question. It's fair to ask Jimmy if he comes off as obnoxious. In fact, if David HADN'T asked that question he'd be open to criticism for NOT bringing up the subject.

For the record, I had an interview / debate with Jimmy Justice on G4's Attack of the Show last night. Jimmy himself didn't see anything wrong with Gregory's question.

Just because NBC is part of the establishment doesn't necessarily mean they are always in the wrong....
posted by Alan on Tuesday, August 28, 2007

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