NPR's Indiana Jones fixation

Listening to Monday ATC's two (count 'em: one - two!) commercials stories related to the about to be released Indiana Jones movie it dawned on me why NPR hasn't been able to cover those other silly stories like the West Coast Longshoreman's anti-war strike on May 1st (NPR's non-coverage), last week's Winter Soldier testimony before Congress (more NPR non-coverage), and the US War on Terror™ version of NCLB (more non-coverage...wait, NPR did cover the free schooling that kid-prisoners in Iraq are getting - I hope they are making AYP).

With an Indiana Jones movie coming out, no wonder these stories get bumped. First it takes a bit of lead up to get to the opening week: a September teaser; deep, archetypal analysis to consider, a little Cannes teaser, a canned Cannes review, then finally Monday's All Things Consumerist one-two finale. There was the "research news" bit on phony Aztec skulls and then the hard hitting piece on the marketing strategy of Lego and Lucas Films as they generate hype (and money) for the coming movie.

If I have my way, NPR's story on Lego should be in line for a Peabody. Norris begins the piece with "Lucas Films has had a long and successful partnership with Lego...the two companies are using Legos as what you might call a 'gateway drug' to get kids interested in the movie." (Gateway drug? I'm seeing a new ad campaign for NPR news: "Your Gateway Drug to Cable News.") Norris hands off the story to the capable Nancy Mullane who tells us:

* of mall shoppers who "watch a Lego designer construct an 8 foot R2D2 entirely out of Lego bricks."

* of one shopper whose "son has been saving his allowance and last week he bought his first Indiana Jones theme set, 'The Jungle Duel' for $9.99...interest started when Indy showed up in the middle of a Legos Star Wars video game."

* "at first the two companies collaborated on the Star Wars Lego play-sets, offering a winged fighter and Lego characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, but Indiana Jones was another story"

* "the campaign is working; kids are craving it."

  • that the earlier boy-shopper "wants to buy one of the larger theme sets, it's called 'Race for the Stolen Treasure,' and it costs $29.99, so he's going to start saving for it..."

Look out Barbaro, I think Indiana Jones may have pushed you out of the headlines.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey