In 1982, Johnny Carson was the undisputed king of late-night television. Two years earlier, a new contract with NBC gave Carson a substantial raise and shortened the 90-minute show to 60 minutes. This photo by Gary Friedman accompanied an in-depth story in the Sept. 17, 1982, Los Angeles Times that reported: Carson, who'll be 57 next month, is approaching his 20th anniversary as "Tonight Show" host. Sitting in his NBC office this week, smoking a lot of Pall Malls, he considered his reign as king of late-night television, and discussed the status of the realm. Carson is firmly competitive about "Tonight."
One hardly needs a reason to see "La Promesse" (1996), the superb immigration drama that first brought Belgium's Dardenne brothers to international attention, or "Boat People" (1982), Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui's harrowing look at life under communism in post-liberation Vietnam. But in light of the ongoing migrant crisis, "In Transit: Refugees on Film," a monthlong series starting Friday at the Billy Wilder Theater, makes for particularly essential viewing. Curated by Jan-Christopher Horak of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the nine-film series includes "El Norte" (1983), Gregory Nava's tale of two teenage runaways from Guatemala, and a beautiful restoration of "Black Girl" (1966), the late, great Ousmane Sembène's stark first feature about a Senegalese woman who moves to France to work as a house servant.
It seems a lifetime ago that Donald Trump descended the escalator in his eponymous tower, to the soundtrack of Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World," before formally announcing his Presidential bid. Melania stood a few steps ahead of him, like a teen at the mall who doesn't want to be seen with her parent, as the two glided into an atrium of cheering supporters, some of whom were later revealed to be hired actors. In the time that has elapsed since--just nineteen months, as it turns out--Trump has mentioned that escalator ride not infrequently. "You know the famous escalator scene, right?" he asked the crowd at a rally in Manassas, Virginia, in December, 2015. I said to my wife, 'Are you sure I wanna be doing this?' I said, 'Let's go.'
Over the last few months the phrase "fake news" has rocketed into the global lexicon and even earned the title "word of the year" for 2016. This raises the question of who coined this iconic phrase, what its origins are and how it achieved such superstardom. While lavishing more than 6.5 million news articles on the topic over the last few months according to Google News, few in the media world have stepped back to ask where exactly this meme-ready term came from, other than comments like "the term hasn't been around long" or that Google Trends data shows it entered the public lexicon sometime last October. The concept of false and misleading news coverage is as old as news itself and over the 20th century became deeply enmeshed in the formalizing world of wartime propaganda. If we look at the Google NGrams Viewer, which tracks the popularity of words and phrases in books published over the last 200 years, we see that the literal phrase "fake news" took off at the start of World War I and reached its peak in the leadup to World War II, likely reflecting the rise of propaganda research and the impact that false information could have on societies.
Figuring out Donald J. Trump's mastery of free television is the great parlor game of 2016. The question is: Who is playing whom? The Republican front-runner realized long ago that he could snare media attention by offering comments "a little more outrageous," as he said in his 1987 bestseller, "The Art of the Deal." On the campaign trail, he offers an unbeatable combination: a celebrity name and the ability to rile up viewers with incendiary sound bites. A data analysis shows that Trump hasn't needed news to dominate the airwaves.