Amy Bowers TV Talk 
"Tangled Webs,
Presidential Goo Stains"

AAAAHHH!!! I've been moving to a new house, and starting my kids on their school year. Since our August vacation, I've hardly been out there working at all. The freelance crews are only talking about 16x9 and other formats. Everyone else is only talking about Monica's dress. Mostly I'm trying to close on my mortgage before my construction loan gets called in this weekend. 

I have been thinking a lot about editorial responsibility, as in how much should we self-select, self-censor, or should we just report what we know? There's a story I'd like to produce here in New Mexico. It's about how a group of people gained control of the state's school textbook committee, to assert its religious agenda on the public school curriculum. 

Last week, I went to my reading group which meets about once a month to discuss philosophical and social issues, prompted by our reading assignment.  I brought up my question about the textbook story:  I'd like to do the report because I think it's a significant story. But I'm reluctant to put it on the air because I think it might provide a model for similar behavior in other parts of the country. If I were assigned the story, I would shoot it, but should I pitch it? Or, should I just focus on my job, finding interesting stories and telling them truthfully. 

Our group was able to stay on this topic for about two minutes, and then the conversation veered to Bill Clinton's behavior. In fact, our whole meeting was unable to do anything but discuss Bill/Monica, no matter how hard we tried. The group, comprised of  lawyers, psychologists, artists, and an officer of the court, (all female), had a field day with this. 

I'm beginning to think that the media frenzy on this story is entirely justified. Maybe the ethics of the President are providing a jumping-off point for some worthwhile discussions about morals in a country that usually has very little common ground.  Besides, it's really entertaining stuff. Everyone has an opinion about infidelity, moral leadership, lying, perjury, and "doing it" in the White House. Previously, I've insisted that I really don't care about the president's sex life. That we all knew that he was a cheat and a liar when he was elected and reelected, and that's part of the package. 

But it's so dramatic, so tremendously entertaining, it bumps everything else out of the lineup. In other news today, we bombed two countries!!! Okay, let's hear more about the President and the Intern!!! 

Also new at ABTV, I started shooting again, right after hurting my back. I do love the digital cameras, and I do realize that audio and video are television. But, I've been hearing for years that the equipment is getting smaller and lighter. SHOW ME!! 

A final note: about a year ago, I worked on a shoot in a cloistered convent for Prime Time Live, with an ABC News team consisting of  Diane Sawyer, producer Allison Sesnon, and camerawoman Cathy Cummings. I was assigned second camera. 

Our presence there precipitated a crisis that pushed us all to test our integrity and journalistic ethics.  The show is still on the shelf, though I hear from time to time that it will finally air. "Sometimes, I feel that if a certain thing is highlighted at the expense of other things, it can give a wrong impression,"  the abbess confided to me recently. 

Ah, dear Mother, when we commit video, we must highlight certain things. That is the nature of our medium. Pray to Saint Clare, the patron saint of television. 

And give us more headlines about our leader's goo stains. 

Monday, September 14 

Though I had a great interest in the President's sexual ecapades, I never dreamed the Starr report would be so offensive.  I dread the ordeal that awaits our country.  Really, I've had enough. 

Amy Bowers

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