(SNN) There were nuts in plain sight in the kitchen the other night. Salted Pecans. Roasted and still warm from the oven. Naturally, I dug in. My wife arrived and took umbrage.
“Those are not for you, they are for the salad,” she said, referring to the item she was preparing to take to a barbeque we were attending that night.
“They were in plain sight,” I said. “I am a member of the Media. My Media Oath requires me to eat food that is in plain sight.”
“You should have asked me if they were meant for you.”
“I took an oath,” I reiterated.
She retrieved the remaining nuts, spread them over the salad and later that night explained to our hosts that the shortage of nuts in the salad was because her husband had eaten a good number of them. Accusing eyes turned my way.
“I took an oath,” I said.
The most popular cliché about food is that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” The second most popular cliché about food is “A dog and a member of the Media will befriend you for life if you feed them.”
I have anecdotal evidence to support this. Anecdotes, Google, and “I read it in a blog somewhere” have all but replaced demonstrable facts as evidence.
Incident #1: The Big Salad
The first incident involved a hotel room interview with a celebrity. My cameraman was setting up while we awaited our subject’s arrival. He was on a tight schedule. A table had been laid out so he could have dinner in his room, but the food had not yet been delivered.
I remembered a rumor I’d heard about the cameraman when he was working on the campaign trail.
“Is it true you once ate Jesse Jackson’s dinner?” I asked.
“I did not eat Jesse Jackson’s dinner,” he answered, somewhat defensively.
“I heard you did. Did you?”
“I did not eat all of Jesse Jackson’s dinner.”
“That’s a different answer.”
“It was in plain sight! I had a little bit of salad. He wouldn’t miss it. It was a big salad.”
“So you only ate part of his salad?”
“Well… You can‘t ignore a prime rib,” he added.
“Was there wine?” I said.
“Yes. But I did not drink it down.” he said.
“You did not drink the bottle of wine ordered for him?”
“I left him some.”
This incident was not the fault of the shooter. Any good hotel room service manager knows you do not deliver a meal to a guest’s room when the media is present and the guest is not.
Incident #2: Dick Clark’s Pizza
Dick Clark produced the American Music Awards for years, seeing to every detail. The only sustenance he provided for Media who covered the event backstage was coffee.
One day, the chief photographer for Entertainment Tonight ordered a dozen pizzas for the assembled media. When they arrived he sent the bill to Clark. Clark stormed over and demanded an explanation.
“This isn’t our hobby, it’s our job. We are locked into this space for many hours,” the photographer said. “Once we hang our mike on the podium, by rule we cannot remove it until the event is over. We cannot leave to get food. It is the producer’s duty to provide us with food.”
Clark paid the bill and after that, he provided sandwiches at the event. Clark, who was a very smart and reportedly cheap man, undoubtedly knew his responsibilities all along, but saved a lot of money until he was called on it.
Incident # 3: Why We Love the Globes
If the Golden Globes are dismissed as irrelevant by the cognoscenti, why does the Media not pile on and finish them off? The answer is Media—the Hollywood Foreign Press—run the Globes. As Media, they too have taken The Sacred Oath. As hosts they not only meet, but also exceed their responsibility. It is the only event I ever covered where a sit-down dinner, with proper china and silverware was served to the Media.
A final thought. When I think back with fondness on the early hour coverage of the Academy Award nominee announcements I worked, I don’t dwell on the surprise picks and oversights or that I had to roll out of bed at three AM just to get there. Instead, I remember the huge breakfast served just before the announcements by the Academy.
Good times, my friends, good times.
John "Cork" Corcoran. Visit Cork's websites here and here. Connect with: "John Pesky Corcoran" on Facebook and "@OldCootCork" on Twitter
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