24-Hour News Network: Where’s the News?

I enjoy Steven Colbert at The Colbert Report, and he said some interesting things to say about the 24-hour news programs when he was interviewed in Entertainment Weekly:

There’s not more news now than there was when we were kids. There’s the same amount from when it was just Cronkite. And the easiest way to fill it is to have someone’s opinion on it. Then you have an opposite opinion, and then you have a mishmash of fact and opinion, and you leave it the least informed you can possibly be.

That’s exactly how I see these 24-hour news networks which is why I can’t stand watching them.  I mainly get my news from little blurbs online like Google or the BBC.  News, nowadays, has lost the function or respectibility of being news.  It’s mainly opinions, breaking news, or stories that isn’t worth to be called news (remember when Anna Nicole Smith died and everyone had to talk about it for a week.  That’s not news!).  To get another glimpse at what I’m saying, check this out.  This is what’s happening to news and what’s sad is that people are believing that it is news.

People now think of news as opinions from commentators and take that as a source of information, or the facts of the case.  But that’s not news, it’s opinion.  Example: on FoxNews, their motto is “We Report, You Decide.”  How convenient!  Not only do I hear the news, but I get to decide if what I heard is true or not.  But how can I tell if it’s true or not?  Well, I have to investigate and the only way to do that is go to. . . the news.  We’re at a loop here and it’s no wonder that post-modernism is looking at this and taking it into validating consideration.  When I hear the news, I don’t want to decide if it’s true or not.  The point of the news is that it’s supposed to be true.  News gives us the facts: tell us what Congress is saying about the bailout (I don’t want to hear what the host thinks is a good idea).  Tell us about the debates (not that the same “I hate McCain/Obama rhetoric”).  Tell us what’s happening in the nation, give us the facts that’s newsworthy (not some lame scoop like some guy invented a way to mow the lawn 30 seconds faster).  Give me the news, facts, the truth!

About shaunmiller

I have just completed a visiting position as an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. My ideas are not associated with my employer; they are expressions of my own thoughts and ideas. Some of them are just musings while others could be serious discussions that could turn into a bigger project. Besides philosophy, I enjoy martial arts (Kuk Sool Won), playing my violin, enjoying coffee around town, and experimenting with new food.
This entry was posted in 2008 Election, Government, News, Politics, Postmodernism. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 24-Hour News Network: Where’s the News?

  1. Killer J says:

    Dude, I’m with you 100%. I can’t stand FOX or CNN, but I watch them religiously every morning. I basically have to take a combination of what the Communist News Network and the obnoxiously republican FOX say, and derive the truth by hoping it lies somewhere in the middle.

    By the way, the Anna Nicole Smith saga went on for well over three months, not one week. The Natalie Holloway (RIP) reporting spanned one year. FOX is the worst when it comes to reporting this shit.

    The one area that I like is that when FOX has O’Reilly or Hannity’s America shows, it doesn’t claim it to be news. I’ve heard both O’Reilly and Hannity say it’s entertainment on multiple occasions during the course of their shows.

  2. shaunmiller says:

    That’s fine if O’Reilly or Hannity wants it to be entertainment. Go ahead, let them entertain people. But don’t call it news. In fact, don’t even put it on a news network. Put it on E!, some other cable channel, or let them have their own channel if they want and they can talk whatever they wish. But if they are doing it simply for entertainment purposes, it’s not news and what’s worse, people think it is news. I’ve heard O’Reilly say what he does is entertainment, that it’s an act. Fine, but don’t call it news.

    I think with these news networks, it’s harder to fill in the space because how can you find news within a 24-hour period? I’m sure you can if you look at the world over but the problem is that people don’t want news the world over, they want something interesting, which means you have to spice it up a bit. So you hear opinions, you watch the screener at the bottom, you see the headlines on top, you see the talking points on the side. There’s just so much news to take in that it feels like a news auction.

    I was driving home one day and I got tired so I decided to listen to some conservative radio. I don’t know why, maybe to see what they say. It was Hannity. My first thought was that it’s going to be the same thing on Fox, but I was surprised. Hannity actually took his time to explain his positions, he did it in a reasonable, logical, and consistent manner. Now I don’t agree with him philosophically, but he made an intellectual argument. Perhaps it was just that day that he did it. But if not, why can’t he do that on his show? I’ll gladly watch it more if people started doing that. Argue with reason, not emotion. Unfortunately, arguing with emotion is what grabs people.

  3. Killer J says:

    “Arguing with emotion is what grabs people.” Ding Ding Ding!

    I guarantee the networks heavily encourage them with money and/or threats to do just that. When they get to do their own radio show, they can do more as they please.

  4. Killer J says:

    Oh, what’s your take on Olberman. News or entertainment?

  5. shaunmiller says:

    Olberman is entertainment sprinkled with news, just like O’Reilly and Hannity. I feel like Olberman and O’Reilly are two gangs just fighting each other. Seriously, grow up!

    I was thinking about what real news is. It’s kind of like the news we see on our local channels at night. They give you the facts straight out and a reporter tells you about it. The problem with this is that it’s boring (thus I guess bringing in the emotions involved). What really gets people’s attention are these “specials.” Things like Special Interview with Sarah Palin with Katie or Charlie Gibson. Those people will watch because they are fully investigated newsworthy things. Couldn’t news be like that? With 24-hour news networks, I don’t think they can unless they loose some of their “predictability.” What I mean is that you know who’s going to be on, and so those people will say what’s happening that day. The problem is that the previous anchor said the exact same thing. Why can’t O’Reilly have some special about the Taliban for a whole hour? Why can’t Hannity talk about about the economy for his show one day? What about Olberman talking about the election? (And since when was news worthy of a “countdown”?) News today has become a sitcom. All we need is a laugh track.

  6. Killer J says:

    I was watching the morning news today and was thinking about this blog. I actually think I LIKE hearing opinions, once I think about it. Often times, I am uneducated enough on a matter that if the news is presented to me objectively I’m not completely sure what to do with it.

    If I hear Hannity prattle on about it from his perspective, and then hear that owl-looking liberal chick they always bring on to argue opposite his view then I end up gaining perspective.

    I actually think I learn more when people get in to a sitcom like debate, even if it is annoying.

  7. shaunmiller says:

    Fine, just don’t call it news.

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