Tim Robbins: The Edward R. Murrow of 2008?

Earlier this month, Pound Ridge resident Tim Robbins delivered the keynote speech at the 2008 National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. He began by explaining that he’d been asked *not* to give the speech he wrote — and then went on to give it anyway (thanks, in part, to cheers of “speech! speech!” from the audience).

tjndc5-5c3xf4cr8ufsuq5oeqz_layout.jpgThe nut of Robbins’ sarcastically soaked remarks, which came towards the end:

“I’m here to tell you that we don’t need to look at the car crash. We don’t need to live off the pain and humiliation of the unfortunate. We don’t need to celebrate our pornographic obsession with celebrity culture. We are better than that.”

Broadcasting & Cable’s David Bianculli, who moderated part of the event and urged Robbins to deliver his talk, echoed those sentiments in his assessment of the speech. He added that Robbins’ speech was like a nod to the same talk Edward R. Murrow gave 50 years ago at the same event. Said Murrow: “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise, it is just lights and wires in a box.”

While the vast majority of Robbins’ ranting was reserved for the Bush-FoxNews-Republican axis of truthiness, but there was still plenty to go around for mainstream media outlets. Given that I write a celebrity blog (even if it’s a pretty soft-core one), it did manage to make me feel kind of guilty. For a minute. Until I had to get back to work.

What do you think? Take a listen to the audio of Robbins’ speech and judge for yourself.

Audio of NAB Convention

Ted Mann

Ted Mann aspires to join Stephen Baldwin’s Breakthrough Ministry, more commonly known as “skateboarding for the savior." Before becoming a Senior Editor at InTown, he worked at The Atlantic Monthly, the Philadelphia City Paper, and the University of Pennsylvania Press. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The New York Press, and The Pennsylvania Gazette.