ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr spends a lot of time keeping up on the war and politics and other news. But sometimes an event from the world of entertainment is so big that he has to take notice.
DANIEL SCHORR: Let me straight out admit that I never was a "Sopranos" fan. And so when the eight-year-old crime family drama concluded, I suddenly go into black during an unresolved scene.
I didn't share in the consolation that registered across the country. My friend, media maven Judith Viorst, who was a fan, told me that if black was what producer David Chase wanted to do, it was all right with her. But that didn't go for a whole of people who were left wondering about what happened in that New Jersey diner where the Sopranos where eating.
The intensity of feeling from the audience suggested to me that something more than puzzlement over the missing finis was involved in the reaction. It was as though the abrupt black screen was a metaphor for a world with too many blackouts.
Iraq seems to be threatening to go to black as a Shiite mosque in Samarra is bombed again. And generals with something of an air of desperation ask for still more troops. And the al-Maliki government is chided for not meeting its political benchmarks.
The Palestinian's situation seems close to Civil War along with tension with Israel, a situation that seems ripe for blackout.
At home, President Bush strives to stave off a blackout of immigration reform. In Britain, in the gathering gloom of his last two weeks in office, Prime Minister Tony Blair - that's the other Tony - unleashes an attack on the news media as committed to sensation, shock and controversy. It is like a feral beast, he says.
And finally, in a radio interview on Monday, Dan Rather commented on the sinking ratings for the "CBS Evening News," his alma mater. He said that CBS was trying to recover by dumming it down and tarting it up. Katie Couric did not take kindly to that. Cut to black. Quick.
This is Daniel Schorr.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.