The Curmudgeon Opines on Television News

While on our recent trip we got most of whatever news we got from the international channels of CNN and BBC. They offered what might be called boring but important programming. Non-US, and often non-British, personalities offered in-depth reporting on important goings on around the world in social, political and economic arenas from the point of view of the nations being covered. I was made more aware of how different that is from domestic US television news when we got home and clicked on our favorite news channels. With a few exceptions, social, political and economic news seemed to have merit only if tainted by scandal, outrageous behavior or purported conspiracies. Tabloid quality reporting pivoting on ad hominem attacks presented itself as courageous journalism. Mundane banality about celebrities coupled with trivial drivel about local ‘news’ of human interest filled in the gaps. Important events around the world got mention only if US should pay attention for economic or security reasons, and then only from a US point of view, which, depending on the reporter, could sound rather smug. That, of course, does not rule out the possibility that we might get a peek at naked girls at one of Berlusconi’s parties.

I’m sympathetic. The international channels of CNN and BBC would probably have an audience of a few hundred if aired domestically. I doubt that there is much advertising value in their product. As one of my old ‘run it up the flagpole’ acquaintances would have said, “we don’t sell steak, we sell sizzle.”

I’m sure that it will all rub off in a few weeks and I’ll be back to my usual junky news junky habits. I’ll be entertained by the humorous oddity of Maldivian ministers having a cabinet meeting underwater while continuing in disinterested obliviousness to the issue of global climate change that is subsuming their country. I mean, if they go under we’ve always got the Seychelles.

4 thoughts on “The Curmudgeon Opines on Television News”

  1. democratic capitalism run amok,even reality has a price and truth belongs to the highest bidder.Rightness is determined by the numbers and favor is determined by dollars. Bread and circus' kept the population of one great empire docile in the past and it appears the magic of spectacle still holds sway today.Bruno

  2. Our news programming has succumbed to our entertainment culture give me the gold BBC any time…and as you observed their world news actually covers the world…not the myopic view that the U.S. has of the world.

  3. I get most of my news from NPR and ABC national news. They seem to be some of the few audio/video sources that expect their followers to be able to follow a clip that lasts more than two seconds.ABC Good Morning America presents pleasant hosts who provide about 10 minutes of something like news coverage followed by almost two hours of Disney promotions interrupted by copious commercials.I am constantly surprised how little substantive content is present in commercial media presentations in the US.I like the coverage and stories from BBC, but am annoyed by the combative style of their interviews.When the curmudgeon opines, there is usually content worthy of consideration.

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