Bob remembers David Carr, New York Times media critic, who died Thursday at age 58. Carr's candor and insight into the digital media world made him a trusted voice to fellow journalists and readers alike.
Songs:"The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" by Bert Jansch & "Blackbird" by Brad Mehldau
BOB: Of all the momentous media news of the past few days -- Jon Stewart, Brian Williams, the death of CBS’s Bob Simon in a car wreck -- the biggest gut blow in these studios was the sudden death of David Carr, media columnist for the New York Times. David was a great friend to this program, cherished for his twin gifts. The first was his insight: saying the sensible thing we hadn’t considered, a quality that informed his writing throughout his eccentric and perilous odyssey to the top. Here he was, back in 2010, long before Tahrir Square, explaining why Twitter wasn’t merely a forum for self-involved trivia.
DAVID CARR: In that maddening moment when you’re standing at Starbuck’s, right, and the person just won't make your latte, no matter what you do, all of a sudden you drift off into Twitter, and when you look up five minutes later and your drink is finally done, you’re a little bit smarter for it. Things blow up on Twitter frequently before they show up in the media.
BOB: His other gift, treasured by his countless fans and followers, was saying exactly the thing we’ve considered in a way we never would have considered saying it. Here was David looking inward after gawking at a New York Post photo of a man killed by a subway train:
CARR: Well, I felt a little dirty when I looked at it, and I’d sort of shot the next frame in my mind, which was full of gore and mayhem, and I thought, I don’t feel too good about staring at this, ‘cause it feels like this guy’s getting run over twice and I’m on the train.
BOB: In every sense, David Carr had a singular voice, derived from his singular and terrifying biography of addiction, crime and cancer. He’s been called The Greatest Timesman, which is probably silly. But he did not keep his gifts to himself; he bestowed them -- generously, provocatively and courageously -- on all of us.
BOB: That’s it for this week’s show. On The Media is produced by Sarah Abdurrahman, Kimmie Regler, Meara Sharma and Kasia Mihaylovic. We had more help from Reem Abdou, Andrew Chugg and Jesse Brenneman. And our show was edited by…Brooke. Our technical director is Jennifer Munson. Our engineer this week was David Grinbaum. Laura Mayer, our beloved producer of quirky masterpieces like the report on the demise of Cat Fancy Magazine, has moved on and we wish her nothing but love and best wishes. We miss you already, Laura!
BROOKE: Oh yes we do, and we hope you fulfill all your spreadsheet desires, Laura! (She’s very organized!) Katya Rogers is our executive producer. On the Media is produced by WNYC and distributed by NPR. I’m Brooke Gladstone.