Picks and Pans Review: An Empire of Reason
PBS (Wed., July 13, 10 p.m. ET)
Here, too, TV twists reality just an inch and tries to merge entertainment and information. A bunch of well-known news folks—Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor, Andrea Mitchell and Robert MacNeil—answer the question surely burning in all our brains: How would TV have covered the ratification of the Constitution 200 years ago? Cronkite anchors the news on the "Continental Television Network," which has a turkey for a logo. CTN also brings us political convention specials, a Phil Donahue talk show, a Firing Line with William Buckley, an Al Roker weather report. And, of course, there are commercials, for an album of golden oldie Ballads of Revolution from the 1770s and for an express service to use when your parcel absolutely, positively has to be there in two months. Cute. Real cute. There are moments when the show drags, when it seems that TV news is not as concise or exciting as a history text. But all in all, judging by this show and the one above, it seems that reporters are better entertainers than entertainers are reporters.
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