I Stopped Watching Local News…and Lived!


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”…


About Conversations With The Moon

Divorced father of two amazing young adults. College student, plodding away at a liberal arts degree. Formerly a Fire Captain and Paramedic. Dabbler in fashion. Liberal. Believer in Karma. View all posts by Conversations With The Moon

One response to “I Stopped Watching Local News…and Lived!

  • kingmidget

    I stopped watching local news years ago also. I never got into CNN. I’ve always preferred to read my news. But, the local version of that is becoming less and less relevant as time goes by. The Sacramento Bee now takes me about five minutes to read each morning. Very little of it is written by local reporters. Newsweek has gone digital and it sucks — a lot of opinion writers and celebrity crap, and not a whole lot of actual journalism about national and international events.
    Last night, waiting at a bus stop in Long Beach with my son, there were three young ladies waiting with us. I asked them how they liked Long Beach State and then asked what their majors were. One said journalism. I almost asked her, “why bother? what would you do with that?”
    In the early days of the internet, it was suggested that the wealth of information would make us all smarter and more informed. Sadly, you are right — instead, it is turning us into a nation of idiots. The problem is most people aren’t smart enough to adjust their internal bullshit detector and filter out the stuff that is crap.
    My niece, by the way, works for TMZ. Makes a great living for a 25-year-old living in Southern California. And, I’ve tuned in a grand total of one time to see her on camera for about two minutes. Can’t stand it otherwise.

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