Written in Ink

Network News Watch: Maya Angelou

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams didn't mention Angelou's time as a sex worker in their obituary. They did talk about her childhood rape. Did they leave the prostitution out: because in a few-minute segment, it was irrelevant to her life and work; because they didn't want to fault the dead as that's the American custom whenever someone of note dies; or because they didn't want the broadcast to be prickly and nuanced, preferring instead the anodyne, Mayberry America they nightly show? If you watch it with any regularity the stories—as I've said on here a few times—are up and feel-good when they can help it, when there isn't horrible news to report. Maudlin. Dogs and kids. Lots of weather. Cutesy. I don't know if the other networks covered that one little fact about the writer, or whether in the grand scheme of such a rich life, it was worth covering—we'd have to see what she thought about it herself and whether she wanted it covered—but I can't help but reinforce my bias that the NBC Nightly News is what the people in Pleasantville gather in front of their sets to watch.


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