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.