Kieran Kieren. He’s over there, stuck in front of a screen, and he knows that there’s better to be had. [And I can't even spell his name right. Duh! Thanks Sally.]
“People often say that the news in the US is terrible – and it is, it is appalling. But it hit home this lunchtime when I flipped between different news channels while eating lunch. CNN, Fox, MSNBC, and god knows how many other channels. And all of it absolutely dreadful. I know for example from listening to the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme first thing this morning that one of the world’s most wanted war criminals Radovan Karadzic was arrested late last night. I also know that a possible huge breakthrough has been made with prostate cancer.
What else do I know from this morning? Well, that India’s government may have survived a vote of no confidence; that Mugabe is talking with the Zimbabwe opposition about possible power-sharing. I know there has been some kind of attack in Israel.
Having watched an hour of lunchtime TV news in the US I know that: there are two US presidential candidates and one of them is abroad at the moment; that people have made video parodies of the two candidates and posted them on the Internet; that a TV news host appeared on a TV chatshow last night; and that someone made a stupid comment about autism on some other TV show.”
You know when you think about it, it really is pretty scary. It gets even worse; people paraphrasing conversations that you’ve just been shown, so that your poor brain won’t be troubled by having to actually listen to the original people and try to figure out what they were really saying. Let us paraphrase it for you so that you don’t have to think.
Which leads naturally to…
It is, in short, unwatchable. I can pick up more real information in five minutes online than in an hour watching television. I am seriously thinking of cancelling my cable subscription. What’s the point?
And it seems that a lot of Americans are discovering much the same. The cause lies not in the stars but in us, Brutus. (Is that the quote?) Anyhow, the US TV media’s surely looming death is thus caused by being too shallow; the print media’s impending doom (though not death) by being too dull.
My forecast for US print media: their newsrooms will shrink so they have the same staffing level as UK ones. If I only knew how many UK staffers there were per newsroom, I’d be able to give you numbers. But I can’t.
Still, one looks at the Papercuts blog (which is mapping job losses) and sees that the total is stretching into the thousands. Wow. Now, a word from our sponsors…