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Blame the Microphone

Some­thing for the “blame the gun” folks out there to con­sider no doubt.  Pon­der away gun-grabbers.  You got the microphone…oh, wait!

But I don’t blame Bob Costas.  I blame the micro­phone.  I blame the micro­phone.  If that micro­phone hadn’t been on, nobody would know what Costas said.  If you stop and think about it, it’s the microphone’s fault.  Costas, he’s up there, he’s in the broad­cast booth at half­time.  I’ve been in that booth.  I have had sev­eral vis­its to the NBC Sun­day night tele­cast.  And Bob comes in at half­time and he does the half­time show from the booth about ten feet to the left of where Al Michaels and Collinsworth are.  In fact, where Costas… maybe I shouldn’t say this.  Ah, I’ve already blown it. I’ll never be invited back.

Where Costas does the half­time show is where Kathryn and I usu­ally watch when we’re guests there.  So we vacate with two or three, maybe four min­utes left in the sec­ond quar­ter and Bob moves in to get ready for the half­time show. That’s where he does it. But if nobody would have turned on his micro­phone, nobody would have known what he said.  So whose fault is it, really?  Is it Bob’s or is it the microphone’s?  ‘Cause it’s a tough call.  It’s a tough call, just like Snerd­ley, he totally under­stands where I’m going with this. If Bob Costas’ micro­phone hadn’t been on there would not be a prob­lem today, at least for Bob.  You know, NBC might now want to think about get­ting rid of micro­phones.  I mean, look at the damage.

You know, NBC… Some peo­ple say that this kind of con­tro­versy is enjoyed by media com­pa­nies, that any — any — con­tro­versy is good. I’m not sure so sure. But this is not the first time a micro­phone has caused pain, suf­fer­ing, dam­age. Look at all the pre­vi­ous occa­sions. I’m sure you can think of some your­selves. The Rev­erend Jack­son? Rev­erend Jack­son was on a Fox News micro­phone that was acci­den­tally left on. Rev­erend Jack­son had no idea when talk­ing about how he wanted to de-nut Obama.

If the Fox News micro­phones had not been on, nobody would have heard the Rev­erend Jack­son say that. So it wasn’t Rev­erend Jackson’s fault. What hap­pened to Bob Costas was not his fault. The micro­phone was on. It is no more com­pli­cated than that. I think what this inci­dent shows is that we might want to seri­ously think about per­mits for micro­phone usage. I mean, look at this. The micro­phone can cause seri­ous pain.

A micro­phone can inflict amaz­ing dam­age, par­tic­u­larly emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age. Only highly trained spe­cial­ists should be per­mit­ted to use them, and there should be a fed­eral agency on this, Snerd­ley. (inter­rup­tion) Well, yes, I know we’ve got the First Amend­ment. But, look, the Founders never intended for micro­phones. They didn’t even know about micro­phones. You think the Founders had heard of a micro­phone when they wrote the First Amendment?

They had no idea. You think they ever heard of PA sys­tems? You think they ever heard of tele­vi­sion and radio? They never intended any of this. So I think going for­ward we need to seri­ously look at this. I don’t want to be so cliched as to say “micro­phone con­trol,” but it’s clear. It is unde­ni­able. If Bob’s micro­phone hadn’t been on, there would not be a con­tro­versy today.


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