Thursday, March 24, 2005

CNN: Giving New Meaning to "Shallow Depth of Field" 

Wonkette (or her pseudonymous army of contributors, I can't tell anymore) continues the battle of blogs against blog reports with a new, slightly less lazy iteration of the CNN Blog Report Report (in this New New Media age, IM transcripts are the new Phoning It In). She (he? they?) notes CNN's hot new cinéma direct style:
It is possible to fit five monitors, two "blog reporters" and two camera men into one frame. Possible, but not necessarily desirable.

I must take issue with this dismissive characterization of the amazing work being done by local news producer-turned-CNN President Jonathan Klein.

You see, Inside Politics producers have come to realize that Blogs are a revolutionary new direction in Journalism on par with the work of Orson Welles in film, and to illustrate that, they've actually made a cunning allusion to the cinematography of Citizen Kane, which, as we all know, pioneered the use of deep focus and theatrical staging in film, exploding the traditional Hollywood use of the two-shot by having dozens of characters in the frame at the same time, all of them getting equal emphasis from the camera. CNN recognizes the parallels between old Hollywood filmmaking and their own, tired framing of one or two anchors behind a desk, and is "passing the baton," if you will, to the new new medium by exploring the limits of live videography, and creating a chaotic, theatrical mise-en-studio to symbolize the MSM-destroying power of Blogsylvania.

It's very reminiscent of Larry King's famous French New Wave-referencing use of jump cuts, non-linear narrative, and free-associative dialogue in his USA Today columns.

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