Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Quacks Like a Duck: A couple of weeks ago, I heard a story on All Things Considered about Jim Sheridan's new movie In America. Nice feature; long, sympathetic interview; dialogue clips. They gave him the whole nine yards. Now two things may be at work here: One, Sheridan is a fine director. Two, Sheridan is something of a critical darling; he makes indie-style "personal" pictures, not star-studded smashes.

That aside, I noticed a few days ago that Fox Searchlight, the studio that produced In America, is now running ads for the film during All Things Considered. (Sorry, they're not ads. They're messages of thanks to sponsors of NPR programming. This message of thanks made it very clear, though, that Fox Searchlight studios made the particular film that NPR had been puffing.) I wonder if there's a quiet agreement here: that studios or publishers that "donate to" (read: "advertise on") NPR get not only good treatment, but feature treatment. Maybe I'm naive, and maybe everyone is already aware that this goes on. I don't know. Odd, isn't it, that a commercial network (not that NPR isn't one, really) would never be able to get away with such appearances?

I'll be listening more closely in the future, and will offer any further examples that I hear.

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