‘Don’t Look Up’ Nails the Media Apocalypse

‘Don’t Look Up’ Nails the Media Apocalypse

“That’s me calling myself out,” Mr. McKay said. “I am in no way above this. I really want Ben Affleck and J. Lo to find happiness together, and I really am excited about what next thing is Taco Bell going to make — is it a burrito full of little burritos?”

In a twist right out of the movie itself, much of the publicity for “Don’t Look Up” has been focused on Hollywood gossip. Early in the rollout, Mr. McKay told Vanity Fair that he hadn’t 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 play the lead in a planned HBO series about the Los Angeles Lakers.

Seeing a Hollywood spat push aside an earnest message on climate change was “almost hilariously ironic,” Mr. McKay said. (Then he spent a few more minutes talking about how the chatter about him and Mr. Ferrell wasn’t quite accurate. For the record: “That’s not why Will and I split up — we’d been split up for three months. That turned us into not talking.” OK!)

Mr. McKay was also unable to stay out of the fray over the actor Jeremy Strong’s interview with The New Yorker last week about his role in the show “Succession,” 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 contention is that decades of a hyperactive media market, and years of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, have thrown things out of whack.

I was reminded of that point the other night at the introduction of a new journalism program named in honor of Harry Evans, the crusading Times of London editor who came to New York after refusing to do the bidding of the paper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch. Mr. Evans, the historian Simon Schama recalled, had been a “hot-metal journalist” who had overcome British legal restrictions to expose the ravages of the drug thalidomide in the 1970s. His great subject, Mr. Schama noted, was corporate malfeasance.

“If he were here now, he would say the slow death of the earth isn’t a small thing to get upset about,” Mr. Schama said.