A Tale of Two Todays

I consumed two very different Today program(me)s this morning.  First, I caught an astounding interview by Matt Laurer on NBC’s Today. I can’t find a link to the segment, whcich was built around a piece on online bullying in the upcoming Parade magazine (also unavailable online). The writer clearly was unfamiliar with the interwebs, noting that kids are using instant messaging, email and “iPods” to make fun of and harrass each other. Digital harrassment is especially dangerous, she said, because these new online tools are “physically addicting.” (I am as tied to anyone to my blackberry, but I have yet to see evidence that there is a biological element to my tendency to reach for frequently.) Laurer was shocked by the fact kids “can do these text messages” while at school. Sigh.

Less than an hour later, the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme (via WBUR) carried a biting interview (real audio link) with lame duck PM Tony Blair on his Iraq policies. (Here’s a summary of listener responses.) I would so enjoy hearing an American journalist question our leaders in a similarly firm, yet polite, manner. I shan’t hear such an interview, alas, and for that I blame not the press but the Founding Fathers for refusing to adopt a monarchy. The English have the royals to obsess and fawn over and treat their Prime Minister in a manner not dissimilar from they way they, and we, treat mayors and other local pols: with scorn and disdain. We, on the other hand, treat our Presidents as royalty– to the point that the job position has become a lifelong title. We don’t have anything as entertaining as PMQ or hard-hitting interviews of the President, alas. At least we have the ANS proceedings.


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