Keith Oppenheim

Commentator

Keith Oppenheim has been an Assistant Professor in Broadcast Media Production at Champlain College since 2014.  Prior to that, he coordinated the broadcasting program at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan (near Grand Rapids). Keith was a correspondent for CNN for 11 years and worked as a television news reporter in Providence, Scranton, Sacramento and Detroit. He currently produces documentaries, and his last project, From Somewhere Else, looked at how global changes in media and communication have changed the immigrant experience.

Bill O’Reilly’s ouster really is a big deal. Time was when the FCC had a regulation called The Fairness Doctrine - a rule that required broadcasters to present controversial issues in an evenhanded way. But in 1987, a time of deregulation, that doctrine was scrapped – leading to intense partisanship in broadcasting and notably the birth of Fox News.

The President of Middlebury College, Laurie Patton, is disappointed, and for good reason.

Recently, I went to a performance in Burlington by Lewis Black, the comedian from The Daily Show known for an onstage delivery filled with agitation and outrage.

I like to take in the news with a critical eye, and can understand why some people don’t trust the media. After all, these days the news is less Walter Cronkite and more Bill O’Reilly than it used to be - with more variety and partisanship in news reporting than ever before.

My wife and I were returning home from Florida on Delta Airlines when something happened that pales in comparison with events like the baggage claim shootings in Fort Lauderdale - but still I find myself thinking about it.

Oppenheim: 2016

Dec 28, 2016

I’m 56 years old, and things are more settled than they used to be. Looking back at my life and career now, there were stretches of turmoil when something, either professional or personal, was rocky.

To consider how Donald Trump is singlehandedly changing the media landscape, let’s take a step back to the 1990s when the Internet was becoming a powerful medium – a time when the delivery of news content changed radically, not only in form, but in time.

For months, I’d been gauging my view of what would happen in the presidential election based on what I read and learned. I looked at polls. I read the New York Times. I consumed traditional media – and more often than not, trusted it.

In the news business, presidential election years are a time for punditry – and profits.

When the story broke about Donald Trump and the infamous recording, everyone focused on what – exactly - Donald Trump had said.

But it’s also interesting that the person he said it to is Billy Bush - cousin to George W. Bush, and even more notably, the newly hired host of the third hour of NBC’s Today Show.

It was the first night of Art Hop in Burlington. I had organized a group of college students to produce a live webcast on Pine Street. We had a bunch of TV equipment we had to assemble in the afternoon, and put away at night. I was nervous whether everything would go ok – and thankfully, it did.

On September 7th, NBC aired what it called a “Commander-in Chief Forum”.    It wasn’t a debate.  Rather, it was two back-to-back live interviews with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on the USS Intrepid in New York.

My father passed away a few years ago, but a few weeks from now, he would have turned 90 years old. And lately I’ve been thinking about how as a child, he fled Nazi Germany.

What is it about the Olympics? Every four years, I find myself glued to the tube, fascinated by sports I otherwise never pay attention to. I say things like – “The Romanian gymnast got docked on technical points by the Swedish judge…..so unfair!”

At the end of the conventions, TV ratings are one of those things that get intensely reviewed. But it wasn’t as if one party got a huge audience and the other did poorly.

The election is still months away and unpredictable, making it presumptuous to talk about Bill Clinton coming back to the White House. But if that happened, it would be another fascinating aspect of gender-making history. America would join other places where the chief executive also is or has been a married woman including the United Kingdom, Germany and Vermont.

Let me make a confession. These days, just about every time I open a news app on my phone, listen to the radio or get my morning TV news fix, I want the latest on the horserace.

It was about 8:30 AM. I was flipping through the Sunday morning shows. The breaking story had not yet hit the air. So I went to work on my laptop, at one point turning to a website to check a fact.

And then I saw it. The number fifty. Fifty - the number of dead in Orlando.

At a weeklong conference in Washington, I got a chance to meet Jon Greenberg.

Recently, I was watching Dan Quayle on NBC News. It had been a while since I’d seen him.

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