Thursday, June 21, 2007
INSPECTOR DAN RETURNS
t has been a couple of years since the last installment of the Adventures of Inspector Rather, but with the fired CBS anchor managing to get his name once again into the news by blaming his former employers for "tarting up" his old show with the Perky Katie, it was only a matter of time. Patience has its rewards, my friends.
And so therefore, I must commend you to immediately visit the literary genius that is iowahawk, and follow the latest investigation into the case of the missing viewers -- The Ratings Always Drop Twice. It is so delicious, that I have no alternative than to tempt you with several teasers.
We find our hero pounding out his copy at a little-known upstart outfit on the rough side of town.
It was 5:15 and I had just finished typing up the final Abu Ghraib report (Dan Rather #23: The Prisoner Wore Panties) into my trusty Remington 17. Ever since my suspension at CBS (Dan Rather #21: Judgment at Black Rock) I was working down in Cable Hell’s Kitchen. A freelance investigative gig at HDNet, a smalltime news outfit wedged between MTV-6 and the Cubic Zirconia Channel. Not much money, but they didn’t ask too many questions and they didn’t have any nosy “fact checkers.”A damsel in need of rescue seeks his assistance -- she needs to find out where her viewers have gone. If the mystery isn't solved, she might be toast...
“Oh Danny, Danny, Danny!” she sobbed. “I’m in an awful fix! The auditors found over three million missing from the Nielsen account, and they’re blaming it on me! If… if I can’t come up with the missing viewers, the network boys downtown are gonna cut me loose, and I’m gonna end up on god-forsaken basic cable filler network like… like…”The corporate Big Cheese smells something sinister afoot, and it probably won't be pretty.
She collapsed into my arms.
“Those viewers have to be somewhere, Moonves,” I said. “Maybe it was an inside job. Maybe it was the other nets.”The trail leads down to the Blogosphere Bowery, where the capos of citizen journalism appear to have something to hide.
“No dice Rather,” he said, pouring another shaky four fingers of Ensure into his highball glass. “the audience embezzlers been hitting every precinct in town – ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC. They hit Time and Newsweek so hard that even the dentist offices won’t touch ‘em. If we don’t do something soon we’re gonna lose the Poligrip account!”
Jackpot, I thought. I knew they were up to their fedoras in some kind of audience heist. Trouble was, it would be next to impossible extracting information out of them. Hewitt and his gang were notoriously tight-lipped, and were blood-sworn to the Blogosphere code of silence. Getting two words out of this bunch of mutes would be harder than getting a proportional font out of a ’68 IBM Selectric.LOL. I'm gonna have to remember that one.
A chance sighting in Santa Monica of Dangerous Dan's nemesis, a pony-tailed cyclist hopped up on jazz riffs, leads to a break in the case.
“Cool it, Pops, it’s copasetic,” said Johnson. “Reet poteet! Like who’s the crazy chick doing the upside down jitterbug in your Hudson, Daddy-o?”But in a quirky twist of fate, our hero finds himself at the mercy of yet another force to be reckoned with, along with several of her devious henchmen.
“Never mind that!” I barked. “There’s a couple million viewers missing from CBS News, and you’re gonna tell me where they are!”
“Like Digg, Daddy-o. Like, Digg.”
“Spare me the bebop reefer lingo, junkie! I want answers and I want them now!”
“That will be all, boys,” said a languid female voice with just a hint of the Shanghai waterfront. It was then I realized where I was: deep in the lair of the Dragon Lady, the slinky Oriental bombshell who had ruthlessly clawed her way to the top of the blog underworld by flooding the market with a barrage of cheap street-grade news and opinions.The labyrinthine underworld of citizen journalism proves too impenetrable for our intrepid gumshoe, but he continues in his faith that truth and justice will eventually prevail.
"The problems of people like you and me don't amount to a hill of beans," I said grabbing her broad, boxy gymnast shoulders. "Not in a world where we're losing hundreds of our media boys every day, average Joes with a syndicated column or a little $600,000 anchorman's job in Cincinnati and a dream."There now. If that does't get you over there, well then I don't know what to say. Deep wai to iowahawk, just for doing what you do. Links to earlier Inspector Rather adventures on that page.