Love Me!!

That’s what I hear from news channels nowadays. “Love me! PLEASE!” It’s no wonder too, as the competition for viewership is tougher than ever. I myself prefer the internet for my news. I can get a quick blurb on top stories and read further if I desire and there’s no talking heads, who I hate with a burning passion. But I occasionally watch the news. I haven’t watched the old-timey broadcast news in forever, and frankly, it’s like watching your grandparents argue. Local news is pretty much useless anymore cause, the internet again. But the big 24/hr news channels are fun to watch. They are the spearhead of TV news’ efforts to compete with the internet and it’s deliciously pathetic to watch.

Case in point, the recent CNN show detailing the roots of its broadcasters. Don’t get me wrong, I bear no ill will to any of these “journalists,” but there’s a certain smug satisfaction, I’m not proud of, that I get watching them flounder like a fish in the boat; they no they’re dead, but the struggle and hope for some salvation. This is the latest effort, the attempt to generate some sort of relationship with the viewers. Fox News has that with Fox and Friends and regardless of how my lefty sensibilities cringe at anything they produce, they’ve been the most successful. MSNBC has Joe Scarborough, whom I like, but can’t stand his blonde, bimbo sidekick, whatshername (don’t give me that “but she wrote a book” bullshit either; it was about herself). Last is the CNN crew, New Day, which sounds like some sort of cult. They are the least valuable members of the CNN team and the most needy, imo. And I have to admit that the Roots show was fairly interesting as I’m into that sort of thing, but it’s a cry for help. It’s the need to establish this personal relationship so viewers like me won’t abandon them completely for the internet. “We’re people too!” doesn’t work on me as I could care less, and I don’t think I’m alone. And I resent effort as it assumes we’re all like that middle-aged, divorcee at work who lives for cake parties as its her only social interaction. They’re like Dunder-Mifflin trying to convince us that it’s about the people, about customer service, not about profit and we buy in because it’s a fuzzy little lie for the show. Well, I buy into the Office because I like those people, it’s funny and I see a connection with my own life. I don’t give a shit about Chris Cuomo’s thoughts or feelings on the story. This phony personal investment in the story to foster some relationship that’s a lie makes me switch the channel.

I miss Walter Kronkite. He just gave the news. He wrote it himself too. The only time you got a sense of what Walter Kronkite felt about the news, except in very few instances and those instances carried the gravitas that fostered the relationship that eludes these other news channels today. I cared what Walter thought. I wanted to know more but respected his need to distance himself to remain as objective as possible because that’s what journalism should be.

Another aspect I’ve notice is need for an apologist and CNN leads the pack once again with with that bald guy (sorry, I googled him but couldn’t find out who he was; not important enough) who used to contribute from Politico. Once again, nothing against him personally, and I actually think he’s a damn smart guy who has something to say. He’s also not all touch feely like the rest of them. However, he is an apologist. He is forever rationalizing CNN’s coverage of everything. He led the charge in defending the Malaysian Airlines coverage because they just wanted to hump that leg for more tragedy. I’m still not sure why he justified it, but he certainly did. More recently he posted statistics on the Ebola story stating that if you were about to change the channel because it doesn’t interest you, you were in the minority as some crazy figure says that 80% of the country was interested. If you changed the channel you were somehow out of touch and out of step. Ironic as most people go to the internet for the news vs. TV, making anyone following CNN more likely to be out of step.

I guess what I’m saying is that broadcast news is going to go the way of print journalism, but even faster and with less loss. Print is still important because it puts a lot more responsibility on the journalist and forces them to actually be journalists vs. just pretty talking heads on the idiot box. It also forces the reader to invest some brain power beyond simply scrolling through headlines. TV infotainment is only going to get worst, and this concentration on making the journalist, or rather newscaster, the story, is just like giving a cancer patient cigarettes; one way or another they’re going to die.

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