HIGHTOWER: Russian News Goes Nude
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Time for another journey into the Far, Far, Far-Out Frontiers of Free Enterprise.
Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you into an old world that has become, of all things, the new Wild West of entrepreneurship: Russia! Yes, some of the dreaded Red Ruskies of old have emerged as flamboyant free-enterprisers, pushing the envelope of cowboy capitalism farther than their American counterparts dare imagine. Consider the television news business. While our network barons have fluffed up their broadcasts into news-lite entertainment shows, which one of them has had the good ol' P.T. Barnum entrepreneurial spirit to bring you news in the nude?
Eat your heart out, Rupert Murdoch, for it took a Russian by the name of Sergei Moskvin to bring this journalistic innovation to the air. The New York Times tells us that Moskvin is the man behind "The Naked Truth" -- a newscast on Moscow's Channel M1 in which the day's news is read and interviews are conducted in a straight-faced manner ... except the newscasters are either undressed or in the process of undressing. "Our ratings have doubled and our revenue's tripled," Mr. Moskvin says.
One of M1's star news anchors is Svetlana Pecotska, who often begins a newscast fully-clothed, but is topless by the end, casually undressing as she reads from the teleprompter. Sometimes, as Svetlana somberly delivers a report on, say, the latest political developments, a pair of hands undresses her from behind culminating the report by calmly tying a bowtie around her neck.
Russia's top politicians regularly appear for interviews on this popular news show, and, yes, the interviewer is sitting there in the buff, asking serious questions as though all was normal. Moskvin asserts that his "Naked Truth" show is not about sex, but satire -- "we are explaining to the viewer that he should not take the news seriously."
This is Jim Hightower saying ... Now that's journalism.