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Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Meghan's audacious on-air slip, and its repercussions, incites the novel's forward action. How would you judge the seasoned anchorwoman's mistake? Was she wrong to let her personal opinion and emotions show? Do you believe that the network's reaction was justified? Finally, what was the public's response to Meghan's fall from grace?


Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This topic refers to events through page 79. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after page 79, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

Stephanie
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KathyH
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Since I'm the first one responding to this line I'm not going to quote the questions.

All of us have said things we shouldn't have said, and usually the formerly loud room becomes suddenly quiet just as I blurt out my words that I immediately want to take back! Meghan's general attitude/personality didn't help. She may have known she was still on the air, as some maintained, but still could have wanted to take it back off the air later. I do feel that as an anchor person she generally needed to keep her personal opinions to herself. It's one thing to prove to a viewing audience that someone has broken the law. It's another to hold up someone's morals and judge them against your own. Certainly it can, and should, be done, but more ground work needs to be done. It felt as though Meghan let one part of her personal life goad her into a confrontation in an area of her public life because they had a few similarities. Sadly, public figures don't have that luxury. It completely muddles the water of their overall message.

I think the reactions were normal. We humans want to fix blame instead of fixing the problem, don't want to admit fault, enjoy seeing people we don't like in uncomfortable positions, etc. The network had to portray its "aghastness" (is that even a word?!) in public while privately enjoying the media storm and coverage.

We, the viewing (and reading) public, often confuse the message with the messenger - which is why "Marcus Welby" could sell aspirin! I'd like to think I would weigh this one episode against what I'd already seen of Meghan's work, and wait and see what she would do next.

KathyH
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

KathyH,

Good points. I agree that the network had to be "obviously appalled" but at the same time, I'm sure they could have smoothed things over very quickly. Goodness knows, the media has the attention span of a gnat... the next juicy tidbit would have taken center stage.

I wonder about the subconscious in this instance... what do you all think, might Meghan have made this slip somewhat intentionally?

Remember, we're still in the Early Discussion area, so don't jump too far into the story when you respond!
Stephanie
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kakhi
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Recent public "mistakes" by the famous are played over and over again on numerous news shows and some even make public appologies. Still their image is usually tainted. A few may get past it with few repercussions.

I thought someone on TV was saying that they were always careful about what they said during breaks because the satellite broadcasting picks up everything and it can pop up somewhere.

It does seem quite shocking for someone as perfect as Meghan to make such a mistake.
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Bunit
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Meghan's Mistake was a big one, but not surprising. To me, she sounds like a authentic woman, one perhaps who wears her heart on her sleeve and for that she got herself in trouble. She had enough of the the negativity of the interview and could not contain herself. She trusted her audio crew...... and mistakes happen. She has to be commended for her boldness and going against the grain of "trying to please the powers that be," ie; her bosses, the viewing public, the celebrity status, etc....
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KathyH
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

[ Edited ]
Hi Stephanie,

There is an article in the New York Times (online) today about the court and the FCC, with the court basically saying that if the president and vice president can use vulgar language in the media, we common folk can't be punished when we do.
Court Rebuffs F.C.C. on Fines for Indecency
www.nydirect@nytimes.com

KathyH

Message Edited by KathyH on 06-05-200701:59 PM

Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

KathyH,

Yesterday on Regis and Kelly, Bryant Gumbel was talking about just that- the new federal ruling regarding broadcasters' slip-ups.

He also said that he made a "mistake" once himself -- he was interviewing someone who was opposing gays in Boy Scouts - he said the guy was infuriating - and when he thought they'd gone off air he said, "What a blanking idiot." (That's the way he said it on the show yesterday.) Pretty apropos to our story, don't you think? :smileyhappy:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.fcc05jun05,0,4892360.story
Stephanie
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KathyH
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake



Stephanie wrote:
KathyH,

Yesterday on Regis and Kelly, Bryant Gumbel was talking about just that- the new federal ruling regarding broadcasters' slip-ups.

He also said that he made a "mistake" once himself -- he was interviewing someone who was opposing gays in Boy Scouts - he said the guy was infuriating - and when he thought they'd gone off air he said, "What a blanking idiot." (That's the way he said it on the show yesterday.) Pretty apropos to our story, don't you think? :smileyhappy:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/bal-te.fcc05jun05,0,4892360.story




Definitely!

KathyH
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kiakar
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake



KathyH wrote:
Since I'm the first one responding to this line I'm not going to quote the questions.

All of us have said things we shouldn't have said, and usually the formerly loud room becomes suddenly quiet just as I blurt out my words that I immediately want to take back! Meghan's general attitude/personality didn't help. She may have known she was still on the air, as some maintained, but still could have wanted to take it back off the air later. I do feel that as an anchor person she generally needed to keep her personal opinions to herself. It's one thing to prove to a viewing audience that someone has broken the law. It's another to hold up someone's morals and judge them against your own. Certainly it can, and should, be done, but more ground work needs to be done. It felt as though Meghan let one part of her personal life goad her into a confrontation in an area of her public life because they had a few similarities. Sadly, public figures don't have that luxury. It completely muddles the water of their overall message.

I think the reactions were normal. We humans want to fix blame instead of fixing the problem, don't want to admit fault, enjoy seeing people we don't like in uncomfortable positions, etc. The network had to portray its "aghastness" (is that even a word?!) in public while privately enjoying the media storm and coverage.

We, the viewing (and reading) public, often confuse the message with the messenger - which is why "Marcus Welby" could sell aspirin! I'd like to think I would weigh this one episode against what I'd already seen of Meghan's work, and wait and see what she would do next.

KathyH




With some of them talk shows, it is a wonder, its hard not to comment on the absurd stuff that is discussed on them. I know I couldn't hold my tongue long. ha.
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aquindlen
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake



Stephanie wrote:
KathyH,

Good points. I agree that the network had to be "obviously appalled" but at the same time, I'm sure they could have smoothed things over very quickly. Goodness knows, the media has the attention span of a gnat... the next juicy tidbit would have taken center stage.

I wonder about the subconscious in this instance... what do you all think, might Meghan have made this slip somewhat intentionally?

Remember, we're still in the Early Discussion area, so don't jump too far into the story when you respond!




There's not a whole lot of question in my mind about a certain purposefulness to what Meghan does. I don't mean that she does it intentionally, but that she basically has contempt for her job and that, combined with what is going on in her personal life, leads her to say what she knows she should not. And she only makes it worse by refusing to be properly contrite. As we all know, in these situations how you manage the crisis often counts for more than the crisis itself. Meghan makes it absolutely clear that she is not the least bit sorry for what she's done. Of course she is only speaking the truth: the irony is that at the end of that particular interview everyone was probably thinking the same thing! But we live in a culture in which truth is no longer a defense, and a mistake requires a public, often humiliating confession of error. And she is not a woman who is willing to do that. She blows up her entire life as she's known it in an instant. And you have to ask yourself: on some deep subconscious level, is that what she really wanted?
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Anna,

Meghan's intent, however conscious, became clear to me when she refused to bow and scrape. At that point she made a choice. And however much we're on her side, there's no denying that she had the talent to smooth things over and make that slip go away fairly quickly but instead she walked away. Which I believe is what she needed to do, for herself.

I wonder though, if she had smoothed things over, where would the story have gone? Group, any thoughts?
Stephanie
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Trillian
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Hi Anna (and everyone!) --

I certainly took it this way, partially because of the way you made it clear that when she apologized she made "Rise and Shine" sound like "go to hell!"

What was more important for me is that I both like and dislike Meghan in that moment. She comes across kind of hard and self-important, and you imagine she'd be tough to live with. But at the same time, it's so fake, the world of TV that we spend so much time watching. It's sort of great to see times when people whose job it is to be bland and acceptable to everyone show some personality. Even if they're kind of "losing it."

(And anyway, who hasn't wanted to hear a bleeping-bleep called a bleeping-bleep on national television? As you say, Anna, that's the irony -- that at the end of the day it's not about what's real, it's about conforming to what's acceptable!)

OK, I'll get down off my soapbox... :smileywink:




aquindlen wrote:
There's not a whole lot of question in my mind about a certain purposefulness to what Meghan does. I don't mean that she does it intentionally, but that she basically has contempt for her job and that, combined with what is going on in her personal life, leads her to say what she knows she should not. And she only makes it worse by refusing to be properly contrite. As we all know, in these situations how you manage the crisis often counts for more than the crisis itself. Meghan makes it absolutely clear that she is not the least bit sorry for what she's done. Of course she is only speaking the truth: the irony is that at the end of that particular interview everyone was probably thinking the same thing! But we live in a culture in which truth is no longer a defense, and a mistake requires a public, often humiliating confession of error. And she is not a woman who is willing to do that. She blows up her entire life as she's known it in an instant. And you have to ask yourself: on some deep subconscious level, is that what she really wanted?

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.-- Oscar Wilde
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kiakar
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake



Trillian wrote:
Hi Anna (and everyone!) --

I certainly took it this way, partially because of the way you made it clear that when she apologized she made "Rise and Shine" sound like "go to hell!"

What was more important for me is that I both like and dislike Meghan in that moment. She comes across kind of hard and self-important, and you imagine she'd be tough to live with. But at the same time, it's so fake, the world of TV that we spend so much time watching. It's sort of great to see times when people whose job it is to be bland and acceptable to everyone show some personality. Even if they're kind of "losing it."

(And anyway, who hasn't wanted to hear a bleeping-bleep called a bleeping-bleep on national television? As you say, Anna, that's the irony -- that at the end of the day it's not about what's real, it's about conforming to what's acceptable!)

OK, I'll get down off my soapbox...

You put it very well; Trillian.
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

I'm with you - I agree that it would be nice to see those television personalities drop the mask every now and again. I suppose that's why reality TV is so popular, people think they're seeing a truth - and they think that's new and refreshing. Unfortunately, I don't think reality TV is any more "real" than the old standard.
Stephanie
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aquindlen
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

I'm glad that someone raised the issue of liking and disliking Meghan simultaneously. one of the greatest challenge to a novelist--or at least to this one--is not to make all the characters likable. We've all met women we admire but don't particularly love; we've all had friends who are wonderful but weak. And over and over again I've encountered a certain sort of strong woman who can be tough to take because, among other things, she refuses to make nice. Despite the fact that some readers assume I must be Meghan (oldest sister, media job), I'm much more inclined to go along to get along than she is. And so I sometimes found myself simultaneously appalled by and admiring of her behavior. I do think what she says at the end of that interview is only what everyone else is thinking but is too polite, or afraid, to say.
When I was creating Meghan, some of my revisions addressed this very aspect of her character. I would read over a section of the book and realized that I had "niced her up." I suspect female novelists may be more likely to do this than their male counterparts.
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LaurenKondrat
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

I like and dislike Meghan as well. I love her ambition and her drive, but I think she has gotten a little to used to life as a star and might need to come down from orbit for a while.

As far as the on air slip goes, I am torn. If it was a mistake, how can we judge her for having passionate feelings? At the same time, she has been doing the job for over ten years and should be able to control those feelings on air and especially while sitting right next to the guest in question. The best part about this slip is that we have all seen it (or something like it) happen in real life. So when the tabloids start to spin it and the public gets angry, I think to myself, yep, that's how it happens. We all (whether we want to admit it or not) have a funny relationship with celebrities. We go see their movies, we watch them on TV, we read about what they were wearing when...and we LOVE to see them fall. Who cares if Oprah gave millions of dollars to build a school for girls in Africa? What the public wants to read about, and what the press feeds them, is how Oprah's school is too hard on the girls and won't let everybody in. Who cares if Jennifer Aniston is making hit after hit at the box office, when (gasp) her marriage is falling apart? So with Meghan, we see the same pattern. Who cares if she treats the people working for her well, shows up at charity events and stays the whole time, etc. when she said a no-no word accidentally on the air people bought the papers to read about it.
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Lauren,

Unfortunately, what you say is so true! I think the reason we're "entertained" by celebrity mishaps is probably more about us than about them- likely there's a bit of envy involved, so is it the stars falling closer to earth, or earth raising itself to the stars? Either way, those "mistakes" put us on more equal footing with people we perceive to be superior.
Stephanie
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LaurenKondrat
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

I was watching a show the other day that kind of pertained to this topic. The whole concept was about how people like to see their friends happy, but for some reason when something bad (not like a relative dying, more like getting a stain on their shirt at dinner) humans naturally feel happy. Maybe it is because they are glad it happened to the friend and not them. They talked about how it was human nature to feel that way, but I was thinking we feel more comfortable getting those kinds of feelings when they are about someone we don't know personally, like a celeb.
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake

Lauren,

I think you're right- it is more comfortable when it's someone unknown. Even though (and you're going to think I'm totally insane by this, but here it is) when I see people doing embarrassing things - even if they're intentional, I cringe for them. I have a hard time watching I Love Lucy even! So I wanted to tuck the words right back into Meghan's mouth, knowing that this faux pas was fictional, designed to move the plot forward, etc... I still wanted to repair that damage. :smileyhappy:
Stephanie
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homereader
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Re: Early Discussion: Meghan's Mistake


aquindlen wrote:
I'm glad that someone raised the issue of liking and disliking Meghan simultaneously. one of the greatest challenge to a novelist--or at least to this one--is not to make all the characters likable. We've all met women we admire but don't particularly love; we've all had friends who are wonderful but weak. And over and over again I've encountered a certain sort of strong woman who can be tough to take because, among other things, she refuses to make nice. Despite the fact that some readers assume I must be Meghan (oldest sister, media job), I'm much more inclined to go along to get along than she is. And so I sometimes found myself simultaneously appalled by and admiring of her behavior. I do think what she says at the end of that interview is only what everyone else is thinking but is too polite, or afraid, to say.
When I was creating Meghan, some of my revisions addressed this very aspect of her character. I would read over a section of the book and realized that I had "niced her up." I suspect female novelists may be more likely to do this than their male counterparts.




As a reader, it is important to me to see characters as flawed human beings, as we all are. When characters are too perfect, they seem "unreal" to me. Or maybe, it seems like the author hasn't shown the depth of character that I enjoy when I read fiction. So, to me, it was a real plus that Meghan was both likeable and unlikeable.

Janet
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