Monday, February 27, 2017

Fake news, the Oscars, and shining a 'Spotlight' on government

Steve Harvey is off the hook.

Lampooned for one of the biggest mistakes announcing mistake in history when he declared the wrong woman the winner of the Miss Universe Pageant, Harvey's mixup now looks like small potatoes.

Welcome to some real fake news, folks.

If you clicked off your TV seconds after hearing 'La La Land' declared the winner of Sunday night's Academy Awards, I've got some news for you.

It didn't.

'Moonlight' did.

But not before Faye Dunaway announced 'La La Land' as the winner and the cast of the move gathered on the stage.

Only then did the awkward mistake become clear, and 'Moonlight' declared the real winner.

Only in La La Land could this be big news.

Actually, I full expected to wake this morning and see a timeline full of rants against Donald Trump. All of that went by the boards with the epic ending that not even a Hollywood screewriter could conjure up.

So how did it happen.

Here's an explanation.

And now a confession.

As usual, I have not seen any of the nominated movies this year. In fact, I have not been in a movie theatre since I watched 'Spotlight,' which won best picture for its depiction of the Boston Globe investigative team that blew the lid off the child abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese.

That move connected with me for a lot of reasons, not the least of which it reminded me, as the Washington Post is now pointing out in its masthead, what can happen in darkness.

It's not just in Washington. Or on big national stories.

It happens in every local town and school district, when the local newspaper is no longer there to shine a 'spotlight' on what is happening.

That is why what we do every day is important.

Forget all the talk about fake news. What should concern all of us is the notion of "no news." That's what is happening in too many towns. It's a dangerous thing.

And it has a lot more impact than a simple mistake in announcing who won the best picture.

I don't know when or if I will see any of this year's nominated pictures. My guess is probably when they finally make it to TV or cable.

I do know that I can watch 'Spotlight' every day and still not see it enough.

It's a reminder of what I do every day.

And what we are in danger of losing.

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