for 17 July 1996. Updated every WEDNESDAY.


This week's Filler celebrates the merging of our two favorite vices, TV and the Internet - proving, once again, that two wrongs don't make a right.



NBC News people describe collaborating with Microsoft to form MSNBC, a new 24-hour news and talk channel. [Source: San Jose Mercury News, 7/9/96]

"We're reporters. We use telephones all the time. We've had to learn more e-mail. They've had to learn more telephone." [David Corvo, VP at NBC News]


"They talk about content. We talk about journalism. It's important to make sure we mean the same thing." [David Corvo, NBC News]


"I'll tell you candidly, I've been disappointed in my search within electronic journalism for enough capable colleagues to meet the challenge." [Andrew Lack, NBC News]


"I've increasingly turned to reporters who have come through the kind of training you get at a major newspaper." [Mark Harrington, MSNBC Interactive]


"Some of the younger people who aren't steeped in journalism may sometimes get cockamamie ideas about it." [Merrill Brown, MSNBC Interactive]



MTV President Judy McGrath on the new MTV channel, M2: "We're thrilled to be offering Intel's Intercast technology 24 hours a day on M2. Our audience has passionately embraced new technology and we know it's a vital part of their everyday lives." [Intel press release, 7/8/96]



From a press release for The Netizen, TV by Wired: "Programming for those who know that the Digital Revolution is already here, and that, consequently, traditional political solutions to social and economic problems are often irrelevant." [Business Wire, 7/9/96]



"'The Site' is an hour-long, innovative new media and technology information and interview TV program offering comprehensive and in-depth reporting on the technology revolution's effect on the viewer at school, home, and office." [PR Newswire, 7/8/96]

At school...


At home...


At the office...



Read the following quotes by Mike Harrington of MSNBC and choose the most appropriate response. [Quotes from AP Newswire, 7/8/96]


1. "Visionaries have said, 'Oh yes, someday the computer and the television screen will come together.' Well, someday turns out to be the 15th of July."

This quote indicates that Mike Harrington is:

a) a prophet - the dream is almost realized!
b) well-versed in generating empty hype.
c) unaware of the fact that cable modems aren't widely distributed yet, thus the computer and TV screens have yet to "come together."
d) on crack.


2. "[T]his is one service with two halves, where we can send the viewers and the computer users back and forth."

When Mike refers to "send[ing] the viewers and the computer users back and forth," he's talking about:

a) sending them back and forth between the office and the living room like hyperactive dogs starved for the latest juicy morsel of news.
b) sending them back and forth between wanting to turn the TV off and wanting to turn their computers off.
c) a fascinating interplay between 2 different mediums, representing a revolution of thought and culture in our society ("our" meaning "that society belonging to white Americans with cash").
d) using his powers of imagination.


3. "But the real beauty of MSNBC is that, despite the months of feverish planning, the millions of dollars at stake and no end of bullish talk, no one involved knows what MSNBC will evolve into."

When I read this quote, I feel:

a) inspired by the beauty of uncertainty!
b) inspired by the beauty of a quality lie! To point out an obvious problem and say that it's a dream come true... breathtaking!
c) glad I'm not Bill Gates for once in my life.
d) bored.



1. b   2. d   3. d  


Bob Cringely on his book, Accidental Empires: "Steve [Jobs] is tasting some sour grapes. He's absolutely convinced that Bill Gates lucked into a fortune he doesn't deserve. That's pretty much correct, of course..." [PBS Online, 7/96]

"The annual envy game was played at a recent breakfast: Barry Diller wishing he was Bill Gates. Jeffrey Katzenburg wishing he was Bill Gates. Tom Brokaw wishing he was Bill Gates. (Brokaw actual starting to dress like Gates.)" [The Drudge Report, 7/12/96]

Esther Dyson on the advantages of being female in the high tech world: "I also had a psychological advantage because... most men in this business start to compare themselves with Bill Gates and they feel inadequate." [New York Times Magazine, 7/7/96]


With the flood of new newsy tech shows hitting the air soon, why not create tech dramas and sitcoms the whole family can enjoy?



Perky Public Relations specialists handle the most gruesome publicity accidents with aplomb!



"The Young and The Feckless"

Young digerati worker bees recklessly disregard the common biases against interoffice dating and pay for it, day after day after day...



"America's Funniest Office Videos"

Uncensored bloopers and practical jokes in the workplace! Includes wacky footage of the intern awkwardly trying to communicate, the bossman burning his tongue on his coffee, the new hire becoming disillusioned almost instantly!



"The Ex-Files"

Features two tech CEOs haunted by recurring sensations that former employees are out to get them...




Super-hot young women and their kind-of-attractive male friends sip cappuccinos and trade amusing anecdotes regarding the stock market in a trendy cafe setting...




"First of all, let's define good TV and trash TV. Trash TV are programs that promote drugs, sex, violence and other social monstrosities."

"I'll wear black olives on my finger-tips./ And I'll run fiber-optic cable wherever I go, so I can check on my family and internet porn from the/ Diners and Laundrymats of the world."


"It seems as though every time an English person comes even remotely close to being an inconvenience to anybody, he or she says 'Sorry!' Often this causes the other person to say `Sorry!' for having been in a position to cause the first person to say `Sorry!' This may trigger reflex cries of `Sorry!' from random passersby, thereby setting off the legendary Chain Reaction of Sorrys..."

"'A lot of people our age have a stomach for bad TV,' he says. 'It's so rare to find anything good, I don't want to see anything that tries. '"

"Your son appears to be an electromagnetically generated apparition capable of physical substance... It means... that the possibility exists that when you and your wife made love in your home satellite receiver, certain properties and characteristics of the signals being received at that time were absorbed."

"I played music before the days of MTV god dammit. Anyways, they'll take care of me one of these days..."




[Filler Archive]

courtesy of
Polly Esther