Friday, 21 September 2012

The Problem with TV News

Sometime around 2002, I was sitting and watching a CNN International News piece.....and started laughing.  I don't remember the topic, but the obvious angle of telling the story was as far to the left as you could possibly get.  Over the next couple of months....I started to observe more of these odd variations of stories.  As time went by.....I noted the same practices with CBS, NBC, and ABC.  It was like first-year university students running some network news organization....at least in my mind.

Over the last decade, I've become kind of settled on my news.  I'll use Fox News for the most part....blend in a bit of CNN....a small dose of MSNBC, and just a bit of the business channel.  The big-three networks?  Nothing.  I might accidentally catch five minutes here and there every six months, but it doesn't amount to anything.

I've come to the opinion that most investigative reporting by the big-three networks.....have been dismantled since 2009.  They sent their guys off with limiting factors....hit on universities, Senators, Representatives, the NCAA, TV stars, etc....you just can't go and say anything negative about the US government itself.

The logic put out on the table during on-the-air TV discussions?  It amounts to something that you'd often expect out of a 16-year old kid.  The questions?  After you've seen softball type questions thrown at one person and blazing fastballs thrown at another....you just hit the channel button and go onto another network.  The trust is gone.

It's gotten to the point now where I turn the TV on at 4:30AM and try to watch the local news.  For some odd reason....my local stations....here in the Arlington, VA area....spend about seven minutes every half an hour....on national news topics.  You can guess the lean factor here....with it mostly being a view of some half-wit first-year university student, and they try to give you this facial expression of "just believe me as I tell you this story".  So I tend to hit the mute button or switch channels a good bit at 4:30AM.

If I do stick around till 7AM.....there's the Today Show which starts up, and there's always laughs here because Matt Lauer and the gang mostly act like high school kids in an attempt to tell some news story.  Oddly enough, there could be a major story which has been going on for two days, but they've finally decided to lead off and finally mention the story for the first time.  Course, the view is somewhat slanted, and you end up with half the information being of no value in grasping the impact of the story.

The sad thing is that Paul Harvey has been gone for over three years now, and there is no absolute four-star place to get the basic news as you'd desire it.

Lately, I've come to note that most of the big-three network guys are now complaining about viewership. They've actually come to notice a loss in viewers....thus a loss in profits.  They'd like to recover those viewers.  So far.....that hasn't happened.  Even CNN has lost a vast number of viewers.  Hardly anyone watches this Piers guy do his nightly interviews, and I suspect that they could relieve him with some NFL football coach to run the show and more viewers more actually drift back to the network.

A couple of days ago....I watched the Piers dude interview Jesse Ventura....former wrestler and governor of Minnesota.  About eleven minutes into the show....I had to flip the channel. It was unbearable.  Jesse ends up saying one remarkable and insightful thing....for every six comments he makes.  The other five comments are what you'd expect from some nutcase.  It was painful to watch Jesse.  It was even more painful to watch Piers.  That was the first time in four months that I'd watched Piers, and I kinda doubt I will be back anytime soon.

So my expectations are rather low on TV news.  You might actually get a decent bit of news off the state channel in Uruguay that is better than anything that the big-three offer.  Considering how much they spent for their version......that's kinda sad.

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