Political Flavors

A Curmudgeon Complains About the Tee Vee

Posted in Editorials on May 24th, 2012

Have you noticed the poor quality of some news channels?

Have you noticed how some news channels seem to be little more than partisan propaganda?

Have you noticed that “If it bleeds, it leads” is only the tip of the iceberg?

I won’t name names since you can find it across the political spectrum and I’m not in the mood to argue which channel does it the most, but you know what I’m talking about. Nigh-Pornographic coverage of famous people, interminable coverage of relatively frivolous things, like awards shows and athletic events, , selective reporting to fulfill an agenda… it goes on and on and on.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, of course, but surely one of the reasons the USA is going to the dogs (hey, I told you I was being a curmudgeon, I’ll use that turn of phrase and you’ll like it!) is that we are told what to think by irresponsible journalists and pseudo-journalists who serve some ulterior agenda that has very little to do with keeping people informed, and more to do with keeping the population amused and docile.

That’s why 24 Hour “News” Networks spend so much time covering people that are famous but in truth have no effect on how we live our lives, rather than public servants, or the people who labor in obscurity but have great power over the nation and the world.

But these news channels insist they’ve been responsible and kept you informed, after all, there’s all those little news tickers at the bottom of the screen… that are hard to read, and far less interesting than the physically perfect face of the newscaster.

As Captain Beatty said in Fahrenheit 451, “…chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving.” And so it goes, but we’re not better off for it.

I think we need to come up with a new rule for watching Televised news:

The trustworthiness of a news program is inversely related to its use of visual stimuli.

In short, the more flashy it is, the more bullshit is shoveled. Does this rule already exist? If not, it needs a name. The Law of Info-Tainment, perhaps?

Again, without naming names… Think about the most actually informative news program you’ve watched. Did they have a scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen, or did they have a newscaster pretty much at the front and center of the action with no distracting text or graphics?


The only useful thing we can do is refuse to watch flashy “News” Networks, and watch more serious reporters, and even (gasp) spend more time reading. We deserve better than to be treated like idiots.

3 Responses to “A Curmudgeon Complains About the Tee Vee”

  1. MissCherryPi Says:

    The trustworthiness of a news program is inversely related to its use of visual stimuli.

    This is a very insightful point! I’ll note that Rachel Maddow – the host of the television show I watch most regularly says that she doesn’t own a television – not because she thinks television is bad, but because it’s too distracting and renders her incapable of getting anything accomplished.

  2. Ceetar Says:

    two things.

    1. Let’s not scrutinize the real ‘movers and shakers’ laboring in obscurity. No one that gets things done works better with some oversight committee (whether it’s the government, the press, or just a pushy boss) looking over their shoulder.

    2. as far as the news goes, it’s the same thing with anything else. Everything anyone tells you is probably wrong, whether it’s because they’re maliciously feeding you wrong info or they’re just stupid or too lazy or busy to research it further. Question everything from the guy on the tv telling you we spend too much on healthcare to the writer that tells you Derek Jeter deserves his gold glove.

  3. Justin Says:

    1. Perhaps “Laboring in obscurity” was the wrong term to use. That implies they’re under-appreciated. Those people deserve credit, sure, but scrutiny probably doesn’t help them. I meant people who use obscurity to hide their misdeeds.

    2. I fear this is precisely the case, so we must question everything.

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