News media running 24/7 give us the option to tune into the news programs of our choice – programs that give us the slant that confirms what we want to hear. I admit, my favorite news program is the Rachel Maddow show. I watch Rachel as much for entertainment as for news.
My first teaching job in a remote Indian village was third, fourth, fifth and six grades combined. These kids knew little outside of their village life and politics. Each morning I would tape the world news that aired earlier on RATNET (the single channel of television available in the Alaskan Bush) and play it for the children at the beginning of each school day. I would ask them five questions:
What is actual news?
What is sensational hype?
What is not news?
What is fact?
What is opinion?
I had parents that came to me and said that they were having to watch the news because their children wanted to discuss it when they came home from school.
The twenty-four news cycle bastardizes the news. It has to be that way, for how many different ways can you present the same event for twenty-four hours? Almost any natural news event can be covered in five minutes, but then the discussions, predictions, opinions and suppositions begin ad-nausea in order to stretch a precise incident to hours of coverage.
We are fed a mixture of news and pabulum and entertainment under the guise of information. News is purposely slanted to the viewing audience (high numbers bring advertisers; and it is really all about money – not news coverage.
MSNBC spent ten minutes on ‘inflation gate’ this morning: Were the footballs used by the New England Patriots slightly deflated for better handling during their final game with the Colts?
At the end of the section we knew no more than we did at the beginning: If presented as news this should have warranted no more than a comment; it would have been more appropriate in the sports section.
In plain language the news man knew no more about 'inflation gate' than we knew, since the findings of the league have not been announced; but he spent ten minutes on hype, speculation and opinion. My students would have said: NOT NEWS.
The best coverage was from Rachel Maddow - she put it into perspective; entertainment.