The Newsvertainment-Industrial Complex (Katie Eastman Edition)

Know how advertisingandnewsandentertainment sometimes get all mixed up together?

Here’s a State of the Cuisinart example.

Act One

Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert establishes a superpac, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. It’s a way for Colbert to both spotlight and mock the whole big-money-special-interest machinery in politics, with the added bonus of getting to swim in the pool himself.

So a week ago the superpac created a couple of TV spots to exert some influence over the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa. Here’s one:

Colbert tried to buy airtime for the ad on three network affiliates in Des Moines; he got rejected by one – ABC affiliate WOI.

From Time’s online Newsfeed:

Colbert paid to have his FEC-approved Super PAC commercials air on the three primary Des Moines TV stations in the run-up to Saturday’s straw poll. Two stations ran the ads with no questions asked (presumably because of their pleasant paycheck from the PAC), but WOI decided to review the content, at which point they deemed the ads potentially “confusing to many of our Central Iowa viewers.”In a statement, WOI said they took the “responsible” route by yanking the commercials with an hour to spare.

Act Two

Colbert – surprise! – goes off on WOI (video embedded in the Times piece).


Now clearly, someone has to get to the bottom of this corruption – someone on the inside. Like intrepid WOI reporter Katie Eastman, who has the courage to tackle the tough issues.

Colbert then ran Eastman’s report on “the longest annual garage sale in Iowa.”

Game on.

Colbert subsequently produced segments on an Eastman report about a Des Moines dog park (“I Smell a Poo-litzer!”) and why Eastman wasn’t working on his story (“Where’s Katie Eastman?”).

[Videos here.]

Act Three

The story turns from Colbert to Katie. She writes a piece for the Boston Herald (where she formerly was an intern), and NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered does a feature on her. (Special Mixmaster bonus: the producer of the piece went to Emerson with Katie.)

At one point in the NPR piece, Katie worries that this whole fiasco might be bad for her career.

Eastman’s pretty excited about her sudden celebrity. “It’s national television. The Colbert Report!” she says — though not without some trepidation for her career.

“I just — I really hope people don’t think I only cover puppies.”

Seriously, kiddo? This is likely the biggest break you’ll ever get. So make the most of it. Because a whole lot of others are making the most of you.

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2 Responses to The Newsvertainment-Industrial Complex (Katie Eastman Edition)

  1. Pingback: David Carr Gets It Wrong | Campaign Outsider

  2. Pingback: David Carr Gets It Wrong | Campaign Outsider

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