Monday, December 6, 2010
Review- Fox News Reporting: The Last Days Of John Lennon
It's my own fault, I want to make that clear. No one forced me to watch the insufferable Bill Hemmer's Friday Dec. 3 Fox News special on John Lennon's final days. I did it to myself, not only that, I had to go back and watch it again so I could write this review and warn you not to waste your time looking for reruns. All in total, that's approximately one hour and 45 minutes of my life that I'll never get back (Thank heaven you can skip the commercials in Tevo mode or it could have been worse!).
First, a confession. I know it's hard to tell, but I'm no Bill Hemmer fan. It's not the frat boy looks, the pompous attitude, or the politics. I just think he's a lousy news person. Having spent 15 of my years on the planet in the newspaper business and another 5 in news driven radio, I was fortunate enough to work with some very good news people.
I don't even consider Hemmer a good talking head. One of the annoying things about his cut-ins during the show is that he can't seem to decide whether he should smile or not.
Like Anderson Cooper, Hemmer may not be much of a newsman, but he does a great job of playing one on TV.
Here I'm sure that there are multiple people to blame for the general overall lameness of the report, but even for Fox, it is woefully lacking in new content, rife with the air of shoddy or non-existent research in its remembrances of both the Beatles and Lennon's solo career and, long on a few gruesome details. In fact, the general manner in which the first 30 minutes of the show proceed give the distinct impression that Fox discovered too late there weren't enough gory detail exclusives to last an entire hour and they were forced to fill in by telling the story everyone already knows.
Both Hemmer and the show enter more their comfort zone when matters cross over into the more sensational. Hemmer seems to take special delight in saying "Coming up, we'll meet the man who literally held John Lennon's heart in his hand!"
After the break, we return to an attending surgeon that night who describes the damage that the bullets did to John's arteries. In the midst of all this, we meet the 5 NYC police officers who came in closest contact with the event.
Then, on the next break, it's "Coming up, Mark David Chapman is getting a surprising perk in jail that has some people up in arms".
We discover that Chapman is allowed 3 conjugal visits a year from his wife of 31 years and the person "up in arms" is a congressman who wants to ban the "Family Time" law that makes the visits possible.
Actually, the fact that Chapman is still married to the woman he was married to before the murder (remember the Yoko clone theory? Chapman's wife is Japanese) is a detail made only more chilling by the fact that when Chapman went to New York in late 1980, he promised her he wouldn't kill John Lennon.
The other thing that struck me was the pure matter of fact manner in which Chapman describes his actions.
It was also interesting to hear one of the police officers describe Yoko's obviously distraught state and how he asked her about Sean, which calmed her. Other than those observations, I see no reason to share other details about this monstrosity.
This show did nothing to add to the story of John Lennon and nothing shed any more light on the weeks preceding his death. Just rehashed material and painfully so... except for those gruesome details that you don't really want to know!
One of my buddies has as his business mantra "I think of everything so you don't have to." Here I'm going to say "I watched it so you don't have to"....... so don't..... please DON'T!!