Picks and Pans Review: Cbs Reports: Hiroshima Plus 40 Years...and Still Counting
CBS (Wednesday, July 31, 8 p.m. ET)
Last June, ABC News took over prime time to look at nuclear weapons and waste and the fine mess we've gotten ourselves into. Now CBS gives you an hour-long report on nuclear weapons just before the August 6 anniversary of Hiroshima. Comparing the two, you get to see some of the differences in each network's approach to news and specials. These days ABC is going for splash in news specials—and often it works; ABC's show is glitzier and flashier with more wow-inducing graphics, more action. CBS, as always, is more staid; the look of its news shows hasn't really changed in 10 years. You can't blame them for being so conservative since 60 Minutes and the CBS Evening News are longtime ratings kings. And you have to give CBS credit for giving its shows an instant air of credibility—especially when Walter Cronkite is narrating, as he does here. But CBS is also, frankly, duller. One talking head after another comes on the screen to talk...and talk. The show is informative, telling you for example about all the times that nukes might have been used but weren't. It's a respectable journalistic effort. But the show is far from engrossing—it's little more than a chronology with too little perspective, too little to say, despite all that talk. Beyond that it's not very interesting to watch. I'm not arguing that CBS should sensationalize or has to splash graphics on the screen. But the show could use a few modern video techniques to breath life into an old, if successful, formula.
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