There are pluses and minuses to the 24 hour news cycle we have adopted. For example, news and quasi-news shows use breaking news as a form of one-upsmanship. “We were the first to break the story” is a frequent phrase. All too often, the cable and network news doggies get it wrong, but at least they were “first” to get it wrong.
Local news broadcasts are now using “breaking news” flashes on a daily basis, even for stories that years ago would have been trivial at best.
On the Today Show (NBC) this morning shlopp journalist Ann Curry interviewed three girls and a guy. NBC paid these four people to come in for a national interview. Why were these four people so important to our lives? Seems the guy, a boyfriend of one of the girls, put on a mask and pretended to be a masked guy who broke into their apartment. He jumped out and scared the girls when they entered the home. The video of this prank was put on YouTube and NBC thought it was a topic for discussion. Were the girls really scared? Were they furious with the boyfriend for giving them such a jolt?
As you might have figured, the interview and Today show segment went pretty bad. The girls all thought it was funny after the initial scare and regardless of how shlock interviewer Ann Curry tried to make a story and cause of concern, only giggles filled the minutes. Too bad, Ann Curry has done some wonderful in-depth news pieces in her career, but the 24 hour news cycle has her doing the bidding of ratings.
The Today show has brought back recycled news and attempted to rejuvenate a cause, or concern and they are not the only ones bowing to junk journalism.
On just about every newscast we hear about some study that predicts the end to death, cure for what ails us, how we are raising our kids wrong, and why we shouldn’t eat butter.
Often these “studies” are based on questionable or miniscule scientific data, but the newspeople feel we have to know how some study in Finland figured out cold causes goose bumps.
These featurettes cause us to throw out food for fear of dying, quit driving our cars for fear of crashing, change our habits so we don’t get killed by a terrorist, and buy Nike sneakers before our feet fall off. In the end, we are no better off for not listening about how the news “chicken little” says the sky is falling.
On top of all the 24 news cycle clutter, news presenters feed us a whole lot of opinion mixed in with the news. We hear the retired general giving us his “take” on a situation, a ex-politician reading the minds of the latest crisis and the magazine writer exclaiming the rise from the ashes of some Hollywood bad girl.
We have a tendency to take some jackass’s opinion and turn it into a hard cold fact that will make the rumor mill rounds within days.
TV journalists Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley, and a host of old-timers in the newspaper industry, are rolling over in their graves. No, really, I am not kidding, take it for truth, some study somewhere told me this was fact!