I am having a hard time finding anything good to say about the news
media in North America these days. I hate to think this, but perhaps I
am becoming a curmudgeon. For example, I was impressed by the rapid
coverage of the tragedy in Minneapolis with the bridge collapse. Within
minutes of the occurrence, CNN, NBC, FOX and CBC were ‘on it’. We had
heard about all there was to hear within a few hours, and then we
witnessed some pretty good coverage of the rescue efforts.
going into day six, we were still getting darn near round-the-clock
replays of the scene, along with endlessly repetitive and inane fillers
of reporters interviewing reporters and speculating on what may or may
not be the cause of the collapse. Naturally all the stations are
‘investigating’ who we should blame and hold responsible. All this
weighted with emotionally manipulative ‘camera-in-your-face’
questioning of survivors and family members to see what it ‘feels like’
to lose everything. Arrgh!!!!
This sort of mindless media
isn’t new. Unfortunately, many of us have become a bit numb to it, but
if we think about it, we can still muster up a bit of latent disgust.
As I remember it, the media has been filling innumerable hours of TV
coverage by riding this wave of non-stop ‘spectator’ analysis ad
nauseam ever since the OJ trial. I don’t think the media is stupid, so
they must think there is enough of an audience lapping it up to have
advertisers keep coming back. CNN is the worst as far as I can see.
They have it down to a formulaic ‘style’: add enough dramatic music, a
catchy slogan like “Bridge Watch”, lots of visual ‘twirls’ and it
almost seems like there is some content there.
interpretation is that nobody is watching it— the electronic “Nielson”
thinks there are viewers but most of us have more or less tuned it out
and left the room and forgotten to turn off our sets. It’s the only
explanation that makes any sense. Nonetheless, whatever the case, here
are my suggestions for those who want to ‘take a stand’ against
- Turn off the set when you’ve heard the same coverage more than twice
- Turn off any newscaster telling you what you just heard someone else say
- Turn off any newscaster saying over and over again, “We don’t know anything…”
off any newscaster interviewing other newspersons and representing
their opinions as actual news. Be particularly wary of ‘experts’
touting their opinions (such as retired Generals) who have been hired
by the media as interviewees to make broadcasts more ‘newsworthy’.
off any newscaster who is emotionally manipulating views by asking
victims of a tragedy how it ‘feels’ to lose a loved one, their home or
- Turn off any news program that is built around the personality of the reporter
off any news program that gives “top of the news headlines” and then
repeats those same headlines and sound bytes as the full story itself
off any news conference where reporters are giving opposite sides of an
argument with lots of yelling and hysterical behavior (it’s fake anyway)
off any ‘investigation’ that doesn’t show both sides of the issue—you
can always find proof for your point of view if you look hard enough
- Turn off any editorials disguised as news
off any news channel that appears to be systematically slanting stories
to support a particular political or corporate agenda
will leave lots of time for movies and other programming. It also
leaves time for exercise, communing with nature, and talking to other
people you know about what they are thinking and doing about all the
things you used to watch on TV.