November 7 2005

The West Wing Live Debate Episode

The West Wing is usually a fun show, and I do tune in every week, but this week was not the be-all, end-all they led you to believe it was going to be. The premise of this episode was that Democrat Represenative Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits, was in a live Presidential debate against Republican Senator Arnold Vinick, played by Alan Alda. It was a great idea, but proved lacklasuter in it’s execution.

I’m not really here to discuss the merits of the episode though, I want to discuss something that really got my goat during the whole going-ons. The nagging thing was the logo in the bottom right corner of the screen. Instead of the normal NBC Peacock, it said “LIVE NBC News”. The episode was also hosted by Forrest Sawyer, a well known newsman in the NBC stable.

While I appreciate that they were trying to lend credability to the concept, I think they over-stepped some boundaries that should have never been even pondered. I can forgive using Sawyer, to an extent, but I can not forgive using the “LIVE NBC News” logo. Sure, someone passing by would have quickly realized this was fake, but how many people flipping channels stopped when that saw that logo and wondered what was going on.

I think this was a poor judgement in this day and age when the credability of the media is questioned constantly. Loaning your logo to a fictional program does nothing to bolster people’s faith in your reporting.

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