Monday, 13 October 2008

News That Isn't!

Watching the evening news has become an interesting and at times, comical experience. Have you ever noticed how little actual news airs? We have weather and sports and human interest and some form of gossipy entertainment segment. I have often believed that weather is not really news.  Anything that I can discover simply by opening the front door, should not qualify. (Although I have a friend who says that he uses the weather forecasts to determine whether or not he should bother washing his car. There might be some value in that usage, I suppose!) Sports?  Well, if I hadn't had the opportunity to watch the game and garner the score for myself, I suppose there is some merit to a public service announcement.  But, it seems to me that the whole exercise could be accomplished in a 30 second scroll through the major leagues so as to ascertain the outcomes.  Most of the sports segments devolve into team analysis and interviews with less than articulate athletes who spout platitudes and cliches.  Certainly not newsworthy! (I simply cannot think of a new and novel way to accurately describe how pathetically bad the Maple Leafs are for yet another season!) Don't even get me started on the ridiculousness of Brittany's latest folly or Janet's latest excuse for canceling out on her concerts.  Who honestly gives a shit?  But, what is really starting to burn me, is the amount of time that newscasts spend on promoting and commercializing themselves.

If I hear Wolf Blitzer push "The Number One Political Team on Television" one more time, I may have to stick a fork into my ears.  I think that I saw Candy Crowley actually squirm the last time he said it.  It might be better for CNN if someone else were to tell them how good they are, rather than puff themselves up all of the time.  (For the sake of full disclosure; I watch CNN a lot.  Mostly because I cannot access MSNBC and I refuse to watch the boors on FOX! I do catch up on MSNBC online.)

In preparation for the Canadian election coverage tomorrow night, CTV spent a good five to eight minutes on this evening's broadcast, touting their comprehensive reporting of tomorrow night!  There was lead anchor Lloyd bragging about all of the bells and whistles and gadgets, and showing off the new election set.  It was little more than a commercial for themselves on the news.  Wholly inappropriate and just enough to make me want to tune into a rival station come tomorrow.

Since when is it okay to use the entertainment segment of the news as a vehicle to push whatever program will be on in prime time that evening?  By cherry-picking canned interviews from network feeds with "B" list celebrities that are attempting to rescue their flagging careers on some horrible rehash of a Britcom, the networks are turning their news departments into hacks that flog the latest and not so greatest from the entertainment end of the conglomerate. The news anchors may as well be wearing t-shirts with logos from their hits and playing TV theme songs behind their chyrons! 

Covering local charity events is particularly galling when the channel doing the reporting is also one of the sponsors of the race, ride or walk!  Nice bit of fanny patting!

I know that the lines between entertainment and news have become blurred in this age of media conglomeration, but the news has become less than it should be of late.  I tune into the news to find out what is going on in my little corner of the world.  I do not want to be shilled at or sold.  I want to make up my own mind without editorial.  If there is such an opinion piece, I expect to be told about it in advance.  Commercialization of the news should never be acceptable!

1 comment:

  1. I have a suggestion - CBC Newsworld.