Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cable NEWS Network?

Not having a television means that I don't keep up with the latest changes made to television programming. The last time I'd watched any CNN was nearly a year ago. So the changes in style left me feeling shocked and somewhat outraged last week.

What happened to the news?

I was watching the day after a series of major primaries had been held, so there was no shortage of news that could have been covered. However, there was no real reporting. Everything was superficial and 85 percent of the content had to do with celebrities.

I don't think I would have even minded the celebrity coverage quite so much if the coverage had focused on what those celebrities do. But they weren't talking about their music, their acting, or their athletic abilities. Instead, it appeared the only news value these artists had were in the nastiness of their divorces, their legal troubles, and the way they mistreat their children. None of that has the slightest bit of newsworthiness or value.

CNN may have their reasons, but I'm still disgusted by it. News isn't just about telling people about what they want to hear. It's purpose is to tell people what they need to hear. Can you imagine a doctor taking a poll and then providing only those prescriptions and diagnoses that are most popular and in greatest demand by their patients?

Media is given great constitutional protection not so that it can gossip about its entertainers, but so that it can protect the country by being a watchdog, a reporter, and a contributor to the social and political conversation.

I happen to believe that people crave meaningful conversation. There was a time when the media was a part of that conversation. What I saw last week on CNN had absolutely no relevance to my life or any sort of conversation I would want to have.

Will the reminiscence of the 00's be "I remember when CNN showed news" the way the one of the 90s was "I remember when MTV showed music videos"?

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