Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breaking News Is Broken

I think we reached some kind of new low for the 24hr news cycle today. As I got up at 8:30 am, every single channel was showing a flooded road in some city. There was somebody stuck in a car, and they all zoomed in to see the results of the rescue. CNN, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, and even stooped as low as FOX, but they all had this “nationally important story” breaking on the screen. Now call me cold if you want to, but there are 2 wars, millions loosing their jobs, an economic crash, millions without health care, the governor of a major city being brought down on corruption charges, billions in “bailout money” yet unaccounted for, a national debate over the merits of helping out the auto industry, a vocal VP admitting that he wanted to go to Iraq weather they were a national threat or not, and so on. These are things that they could report. But nooo, we are all forced to watch a car in the water. Like an hours later the water had died to a trickle and the lady who was stuck could have just opened up the door and tip toed to the curb.

I have to tell you, I am quite sick of seeing local stories on national news. I do not care about a car chase in LA. (As OJ proved sometimes you run even when you are innocent.) I don’t care about a foot bridge collapsing in NY. I don’t care about a house fire in Florida. I don’t care about some bad weather in Oklahoma. Now you are really going to think I am cold, but I don’t care about a missing and murdered child anywhere that the killer isn’t expected to be in my travel area. I don’t care about the family feuds of dead celebrities. I defiantly don’t care about their length of prison sentence. All of these stories could be delivered in a 5 min. news round up at the end of a major newscast if they really must be covered at all. However, the country and the world will be fine without such enlightenment.

I don’t think I have turned on any of the major news networks in the last 2 years where the words “BREAKING NEWS” isn’t splashed across the screen. It is like some drug that has long lost its affect, but they all feel they need it to survive. For the benefit of the major news producers reading this blog post, here are some suggestions of things I will never get sick of. I will never get sick of reporters hounding legislators about their bad vote decisions. I will watch tirelessly as you interview people who were convicted for obstruction of justice in a treason case. I will always find it interesting to hear debates between scientists on the topic of global warming. You can hold my attention with economist who debate the ways to strengthen the dollar. I will be mesmerized every single time with discussions of future costs of education. If you can get the CEO of CitiBank to cry on your TV show for ruining the lives of every hard working American and admit that credit is the cancer that has rotted this nation, then you have “Breaking News”. Other then that it is just drama. People have enough distractions in life with out the annoyances of Nancy Grace. And Lou Dobbs chases so many red herrings he should be forced to declare “fishing” as his actual occupation on his W-2.

So please, just one of you, step out and step up. Before you “run” a story, ask yourself, “If I lived 200 miles away from the scene, would I have a stake in the outcome of this event?” If the answer is “no” and you are running a national/ world news network, consider other options.

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