Blame the Microphone
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.