Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Today's worst person in Colorado

If you've looked at this blog before, you know that from time-to-time I get off the movie track to talk about something else. This is part of my recognition that there's life beyond the multiplex, which puts me in mind of a story that Martin Sheen told me in an interview almost 30 years ago. Sheen, who had a heart attack during the filming of "Apocalypse Now," wound up in a hospital in the Philippines. Let's just say he may have been a little over-committed to the role of Captain Benjamin L. Willard. Standing over his hospital bed, Sheen's wife looked down at him, shook her head and said, "Hey babe, it's only a movie."

Those of us who spend too much of our time watching and thinking about movies need that reminder now and again.

Which is why I'm ranting about something else today.

Jared Polis, a Democrat who represents Boulder in Congress, told the Denver Post that bloggers -- the so-called New Media -- helped kill The Rocky Mountain News, presumably an exemplar of Old Media calcification. Polis evidently isn't unhappy that the Old Media is fading because a beautiful phoenix may be rising from the still smoldering ashes; i.e., the possibility for increased democratization of journalistic culture. The Internet rules. Citizen journalists will help keep an eye on government -- at least when they're not too busy watching one another.

Never mind that it takes years to become a skilled reporter. Never mind that it takes time, tact and savvy to develop sources. Never mind that talk radio has given us a pretty good idea of what a broadened expression of opinion can be worth. Never mind that some of the best bloggers in the world ply their trade on Old Media sites. Never mind that bloggers had little or nothing to do with the demise of the Rocky Mountain News.

All I can say is that if Polis' grasp of other issues is in any way comparable to his understanding of this one, his constituents should be afraid. Very afraid. So with apologies to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, I'm naming Jared Polis today's worst person in Colorado, even if he happens to be in D.C. at the moment.

Or maybe I've got it all wrong. Maybe I should remember the words of Mrs. Sheen. "Hey babe, it's only a newspaper."


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, Robert. When I read Polis's comments in the Post, I was horrified by his lack of knowledge and insensitivity. Frankly, I am glad I don't live in CD 2.

Anonymous said...


What I felt initially when I saw that story in the Post yesterday couldn't be printed. But here's what I posted after I calmed down. Well, a little bit anyway.

Mike Cote


Brad said...


I agree with your assessment. Very few people can write and fewer still can do it with journalistic integrity, no matter how entitled they feel with their fancy-pants blogs. For this reason, although the nature of a newspaper may change, the premise of a newspaper as a forum for journalists will not. It's a shame that the Rocky got caught up in this change for the worse, but I was glad to stumble across your blog. I've been reading your reviews for years because you were so hard (but fair) on movies. You were (and are) the anti grade-inflation critic.