‘Don’t look up high’ nails the media apocalypse

“This is my calling,” McKay said. “I’m not above that by any means. I really want Ben Affleck and J. Lo to find happiness together, and I’m really excited for the next thing Taco Bell is going to do – is that a burrito full of little burritos?

In a twist from the release of the film itself, much of the publicity for “Don’t Look Up” has focused on Hollywood gossip. At the start of the rollout, Mr. McKay told Vanity Fair he had not spoken with his longtime partner Will Ferrell, the star of “Anchorman” and other McKay films including “Step Brothers” and “Talladega Nights” since he cast a different actor to star in a HBO planned series about the Los Angeles Lakers.

Seeing a Hollywood spit dismiss a serious message about climate change was “almost hilarious of irony,” McKay said. (Then he spent a few more minutes explaining that the discussions about him and Mr. Ferrell weren’t quite right. For the record: “That’s not why Will and I broke up – we were apart. for three months. It kept us from talking. “OK!)

Mr. McKay was also unable to stay out of the fray over actor Jeremy Strong’s interview with The New Yorker last week about his role on the “Succession” series, of which Mr. McKay is also an executive producer.

Good journalism is always a balance between telling people what they want to hear and what they need to know. Mr. McKay’s claim is that decades of a hyperactive media market and years of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok have turned things upside down.

I recalled this point the other night when introducing a new journalism program named in honor of Harry Evans, the editor of The Times of London on the Crusade who came to New York after having refused to make the offer of the newspaper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch. Mr Evans, historian Simon Schama recalled, had been a “keen journalist” who had overcome UK legal restrictions to speak out against the ravages of the drug thalidomide in the 1970s. His big topic, Mr Schama noted, was corporate malfeasance.

“If he was here now, he would say the slow death of the earth is no small thing to get excited about,” Mr Schama said.

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