Let me say for the record, it's not just the healthcare crazy (though that's a whole new level of wackadoodle). It's not just the swastika painting, the Joker poster hanging, the Neo-Nazi militias getting jiggy, the gun-toting "tree of liberty" folks or the slamming of 80-year old grandmas into the ground. It's the pontification, the superior, snarky, I-can-speak-louder-than-you noise emanating from that which passes itself off as news these days.
I miss Walter Cronkite and Bernard Shaw (where he at?). I miss the solemn, stone-faced stodgy delivery of straight (in as much as it can be) news. I miss news without nuance. Talk without texture, facts without flourish, and statistics without scenery. I want my news like old school Dragnet, "Just the facts, ma'am." I want my news like tequila at a Cinco de Mayo happy hour, "Straight no chaser." I could do this all night but you catch my meaning.
I have long since boycotted local and network news. If I happen upon it, I'll listen long enough to make sure I have no need of my Emergency Preparedness Manual and move on. The old "if it bleeds, it leads" standard of ABC/NBC/CBS news wore me out. After a long day living in the real world, I did not want to share everyone else's pain. Selfish? Probably? Self-preservation? Definitely. There's only so much negativity you can be bombarded with before it weighs heavy on your soul. I prefer my soul like pancakes – light and fluffy. (I'm killing with the metaphors today… apologies)
Having worked from home for a number of years, it was my practice to turn on Headline News (now irritatingly referred to as HLN) for about an hour to get the mcnugget news for the morning. Then I would shift over to MSNBC for some liberal in depthness before getting down to work. Near the end of my workday, I would generally switch between CNN and MSNBC for a few hours. During the election, I followed Countdown with a religious fervor previously reserved for NFL football and potato skins.
Let me take a moment to assign a special place in Hades for whoever created potato skins. And as long as we are talking about the seventh circle of Hell, let me get back on topic by bringing up one of Lucifer's anointed ones, Nancy Grace. I dislike her with the intensity of a thousand suns. Beyond the twang and the gleeful snitchy finger-pointing, anyone who makes their living off the tragedy and misfortunes of others is sub-human as far as I am concerned. Have you noticed that Jane Velez-Mitchell is just Nancy Grace with more "flavor" and darker hair?
Maybe I became burned out, maybe I got jaded. Or maybe, all of these talking heads got puffed up by the all the "White Girl killed by Husband/Lover," "Missing Baby" and "Shiny new Black President" ratings and lost what bits of their minds they had left. Somehow, somewhere along the way, the news became about opinions and accusations, not facts. At some point, someone decided you get better ratings by saying what you felt, not telling up what happened.
That's not reporting… that's just talking out of your ass. (Pardon the blunt verbiage)
These media outlets have a ton of rear-end mouthpieces out there. What school of Journalism did Glenn Beck graduate from? Whose Radio-TV-Film program granted Rush Limbaugh a degree? And even for the so-called "qualified" newsmen/women, when did fact-finding and non-partisan delivery of said facts turn into "he who screams the loudest wins"?
Can't even make the effort with Fox News. I find it so difficult to watch that when I was in my orthopedist's waiting room where the TV was programmed to Fox News; I told them I would stand outside until he was ready to see me. I believe I have hit zero tolerance for the bullshiggity.
CNN has gone from being a trusted news source to a place where you're never sure who or what you'll get. The most authentic voice they have left is James Earl Jones announcing, "This is CNN." Soledad stays losing with me over her Black in Americaness. Anderson Cooper is a philantrophist in reporter's clothing. Larry King is pimpin' Larry King. Wolf Blitzer just barely holds his own (he got a little too happy during the RNC/DNC conventions for me… act like you've been there, Wolf.) And let's take a nano-second to hold a candlelight vigil for Lou Dobbs career. Poor Lou Dobbs once considered "the most trusted man in news" swift boated his damn self by wading into the nutso birther waters and then acting like it was okay. Clue to newscasters, when you are starting your sentences with the phrase, "I believe…" you have gone adrift of the fair and impartial path of journalistic integrity.
Even Keith Olbermann who is less offensive than others (in my opinion) spends a lot of time judging the actions of newsmakers, grading them from bad to worst and taking a moment (when he's really riled up) to share a special commentary (read supercilious rant filled with words like "travesty of justice", "you sir are a scourge upon humanity" and "appalling lack of judgment." That being said, I feel like Keith at least makes an effort to deliver the truth. But that could be my liberal bias rearing its daisy-chained head. J
When I took my journalism 101 class (back in the day, ya'll), we were told over and over again that REAL news is covered by answering the question: WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE. Editorials or op-eds happened with you delved into the WHY and the HOW. So is modern day news casting just one big Op-Ed? From people with skewed and unvalidated opinions?
BougieOlderBro believes that major news outlets should go independent and distance themselves from the ethically-challenged shackles of corporate ownership and influence. He has a point. How much of what gets shown on Fox is dictated from the Rupert Murdock philosophy on life (I shudder to think). How much weight does a board member of GE have on who appears on Hardball? How much Disney is in the ABC newsroom? It gives you pause and makes you question the validity of any (and every) broadcast.
So I've had it with news "personalities" running with "the hot story" whether it is valid or not. I've had it with the endless panels of professionals telling me what they think and how I should feel and why the country is going to hell in a basket TONIGHT, in time for the 10:00pm update. I'm weary of increasingly pretty people with nothing in their pretty heads mouthing off about the topics of the day. I can hear no more opinions on what Obama does wrong (or right), what Michelle Obama wears (or buys) and who killed Michael Jackson. I'm done, son.
I get my news in quick bites from all sources now. I actually get more breaking news on Twitter than CNN these days. I've found that the commentary I read on blogs is far more witty and three-dimensional than that offered up on TV. Huh, I just thought of something. I'm already over most of Primetime Television. I am not a reality fan, you KNOW my feelings about the BET of it all and now I am boycotting news shows. Pretty soon, I'll be watching nothing but the NFL Network, QVC, TNT and the History Channel. Definitely maximizing my 800 channels, ya'll.
So I'm talked out of the talking heads. Today, I found myself watching CNN on mute and I just read the scrolling headlines at the bottom. Yes, it's come to this.
What do you think? Is the mainstream media way out of control? Is there a one of them that you trust and respect? Please share.
Oh, I figured out how to add polls to my page (clearly). I'll give these a try and see if they slow down the page-load time. Talking head poll embedded below.