This film came out in 1987, and like others that have been discussed here, such as A Face in the Crowd, Network, and Wag the Dog, it comments on the trend in the media to move away from objectivity and accuracy to subjective interpretation and manipulation of events, and the rise of entertainment star power to shape the information provided to the public.
In order to make the news piece successful, she wants her mic tied in directly to Tom’s earpiece so she can tell him everything to say. Jane performs flawlessly, and makes Tom look informed. Tom is not nervous, because he realizes how he is accepted as a dispenser of the news. He knows exactly what shirt and tie to wear, how to sell himself. Aaron s relegated to being at his home, where he can sing French and read at the same time, and comment on his own multitasking abilities. He is a Renaissance man, but an arrogant one. He calls in information about fighter planes and Gaddafi, and when his words come out of Tom’s mouth, he tells Jane, “What’s next lip-syncing?” Indeed, Tom is like Jane’s ventriloquist dummy. Aaron’s statements remind one of Dustin Hoffman’s movie producer dictating the words that come out of the White House press secretary’s mouth in Wag the Dog. A significant ending to the broadcast occurs when Tom must stretch to fill time and he says, because the military threat is diffused, “I think we’re all okay.” Bureau Chief Ernie looks angered by the comment, and says to the TV monitor, “Who the hell cares what you think.” At the time of the movie’s release in 1987, inserting the reporter’s personal feelings was considered a lowering of broadcast news quality. Brooks obviously saw the negative trend which TV news was following. Now, it is almost impossible to not hear newscasters not espousing their personal feelings and views, and objectivity is all but lost.
The next film is Notorious.