Friday, January 23, 2015

NEWS 24/7

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. 

the Ol'Buzzard


  1. Balls said the Queen..If I had them I'd be King.

  2. AHHH CRAP! I was going to play that youtube video on my blog. You got the jump on me.
    I have to say I was laughing when I heard it again on your blog. Funny as hell.

  3. The 24 hr news turned the news into entertainment & gave us talking heads, where quiet is not good.
    I miss the news.
    The same 24hr format changed cartoons... from what I was familiar with at least. The only time my Dad would have seen cartoons as if they went to the movies.

    1. I grew up with cartoons at the movies. That is where I first heard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries: Kill the rabbit - kill the rabbit...
      Now kids only have Sponge Bob.

  4. Oh, that video is just TOO MUCH, LOL! See? It takes a Queer Ear to hear the homoerotic subtext that everyone else misses in this most macho of sports!

  5. Don't you just hate that every story with even a hint of scandal in it is some fucking kind of "Gate"?? One place that actually had "gate" in the name, Watergate, and ever after that the story will have gate stuck on the end of the name. Watergate was over 40 years ago, it's time to move on.

    1. The same with Armageddon: we now have snowmageddon... etc.

  6. I am stuck to my computer these days. Reading news item after news item. OCD? What if I didn't read them? I sure like the questions you asked your kids. It takes a long long time to learn the difference and a lot of information. I am prepared to believe what fits my mindset until I run into stuff I KNOW about. So the Bullshit about GMOs, Monsanto, beef, poisons in our food, I can shake that off because it is stuff I know. I can sort the good science from the bad. Same in politics. I liked reading stuff by Bill Blum because I didn't know anything about it. Suddenly he started apologizing for Stalin and shoveling the Kremlin line on Ukraine and I realized that likely all the other stuff I so readily believed was bullshit too. And I am OLD and very well read in certain parts of history. If you are 8 or 18 or even 28, how do you differentiate between ruth and friction as Eva Gabor said?


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."