Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spoiler Alert

Concerning Saturday's Nightly News story about WW II Marine Corps hero (and Medal of Honor recipient) John Basilone: Was it really necessary for Anne Thompson to tell us that Basilone died at Iwo Jima, several years after his heroic acts at Guadalcanal? Basilone was a real person of course, but he is also one of the main characters on the new HBO miniseries "The Pacific", which premiered the night after Thompson's story ran. Obviously the Nightly News producers knew that many of their viewers would also be watching "The Pacific", and Thompson promoted the show heavily in her story. In fact, it was only because of the HBO miniseries that the Nightly News producers got the idea to do the story on Basilone in the first place. So why did they have to tell us the circumstances of his death? That's like revealing which characters die in "Green Zone", "The Hurt Locker" or "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel". At least when Nightly News showed Olympic results before NBC aired the events, Brian had the courtesy to give us a spoiler alert so we could look away until the results were taken off the screen. Thanks a lot, Nightly News producers. Care to spoil the deaths of any other real-life characters featured in "The Pacific"? Maybe next week, Thompson can tell us that Rosebud was a sled.

But Thompson and her producers have a bigger problem. Everyone knows that Brian doesn't allow anyone other than himself to announce the deaths of Medal of Honor winners. So by announcing the death of Basilone (even if it occurred 65 years ago), Thompson stepped on Brian's toes big time. I think we can expect to see Anne Thompson reporting from Siberia real soon.

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