NBC Universal TV topper Jeff Gaspin took the platform provided by the kudo he received Thursday from the Anti-Defamation League to make some pointed remarks about the contempo state of showbiz journalism.
Gaspin, who was feted at the ADL’s Entertainment Industry Awards ceremony at the BevWilshire, said in accepting his award that “a lotof the journalism now covering the media industry has turned angry, with the proliferation of blogs and websites devoted to our business.” He noted that the interactive nature of Web reporting and the comments solicited by many websites and blogs has turned up the heat even further.
“It’s not just hateful stories, but the nameless postings that follow afterwards,” Gaspin said. “They are often hurtful, dangerous and sometimes even destructive. … It’s so much easier to hate from a cool and secretive distance. With a few clicks of the keyboard, people share feelings they might otherwise have kept to themselves.”
Gaspin also decried the “unending race to be first” among the increasing number of outlets that cover the minutiae of the entertainment biz.
Gaspin knows whereof he speaks, having been the target of fury on the Web (and other forums) as the key NBC exec player in the Conan O’Brien-Jay Leno imbroglio that led to O’Brien’s exit from NBC and “The Tonight Show” earlier this year.
Gaspin noted that media firestorms over showbiz matters pale in comparison “the real deal — hate based on religion, on race, (or) a bully you can’t leave behind if you make it safely to your doorstep because he, or she, is waiting in your room on your computer.”
With incidents of cyberbullying making headlines as factors in recent suicides, including the death earlier this month of an 18-year-old Rutgers U. freshman, Gaspin said it was important for the biz to support the ADL’s anti-hate educational outreach efforts. The org has zeroed in on the online realm in recent years as a growing incubator of hate groups.
“We (can) resist as a creative community by thinking about the choices we make, the stories we tell and how we do our work,” Gaspin added.