Not too long ago, my son asked me on what channel I watched local news. I told him that it had been quite awhile since I had tuned in to the local version of infotainment. In fact, I couldn’t recall when I had stopped watching it, since it had been so long since I was graced with Susie and Dan exchanging witty repartee while dissecting the risks and benefits of liposuction.
Here in Los Angeles, there actually used to be some quality journalists: John Schubeck, Bill Stout, Warren Olney to name a few. But as a lad I recall when we were introduced to “Eyewitness News”; and the era of “Happy Talk” journalism hit the ground running.
On the rare occasion today (usually a public T.V. while in an airport or at some other event) that I am exposed to this nonsense, I am sadly reminded of the decline of television news, particularly at the local level. I specifically exclude the local PBS affiliates and NPR as it goes without saying that they are the last bastions of “real” daily television journalism.
I guess what causes me the most alarm is the number of “adults” 18-65 that watch this drivel and actually believe they are watching news and being informed. That Ronald Reagan and George Bush won two presidential terms sustains my belief that we are a nation of ill-informed (at best) citizens unwilling to take the time to understand what “real” journalism is.
It is: unbiased, sourced, verifiable and editorially overseen by professionals with degrees in journalism from real journalism schools. It is not: TMZ, ANY local news outlet, Fox, MSNBC and sadly now: CNN.
Yes, I’m generalizing and yes I’m oversimplifying. But what I am not doing is being lazy and willing to submit my mind to the commercial pabulum force-fed us these days. It’s easy to be cynical about this state of affairs (I am guilty of this more often than not) but submit that in this day of the internet, with a virtual encyclopedia on your damn phones, that none of us have any excuse to be NOT informed or ILL informed.
There are some great apps for your phone and tablet and laptop kids…Reuters, BBC, PBS, NPR, Washington Post, New York Times, even Al Jazeera and Haaretz offer solid journalism, albeit the last two must be viewed through the lens of their masters.
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for seeking and consuming responsible sources for the information we use in our daily lives to make decisions about what we want our world to look like. If yours is the local news outlet, please consider educating yourself. You may just learn that everything isn’t “Breaking News”…