OK Saloners, your respected observations are requested here, ok?Conclusions drawn on this subject came about through long hours of "watching" two cable news programs while I awaited appearances by Joan Walsh, Salon's pride, joy and just a nice person.
(As I not too recently spoke out on networks and television, I assure you this deals with a more specific and more detailed angle, of CNN.)
This won't be a (too) derisive rant or complaint about a television network, rather a request by me for you interested to either confirm ,or deny, what I really think is happening to CNN, "the best news from around the world", (I think they say.) I had a terrifying thought today that FOX was infiltrating CNN. It had to do with the prejudicial way copy was written, thus read.
To be honest, I do not watch the Fox "noise"network, as MSNBC refers to it. When I tried once, I just got really, ah, pissed off, I guess. So, CNN is my default, background channel, as I pound my keyboard, etc.. It is usually intelligent and varied.( Well, then 'til evening, and the Liberals come out of MSNBC, of course.) As I was listening to Rick Sanchez' show today, honestly not my favorite, he's too hyper-esque. I thought it could have been FOX , because the copy was dangerously accusatory, and inflammatory. This concerned me and thus this second, follow up post.
I think I have pinpointed a practice CNN is doing more and more when reporting. . The practices I speak of about CNN are attempts, and usually successful ones, to make 'stories' from 'non-stories'. To simplify my broader points, perhaps an example.
Now, let's use from this weeks news, the story about the Illinois Governor. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. had said live, that he may have had a "talk" with Blagojevich earlier in the week, and that he still wishes to be considered for the vacant Senate seat Obama will be leaving.
Delivery is everything. After several minutes of statements, verbal and visual posturing by Mr. Sanchez, there was a clearly implied suspicious "connection" between Mr. Jackson and Mr. Blagojevich When he was done, Mr. Sanchez did, nearly begrudgingly, remind the viewers that there is as yet no connection between Jackson and Blagojevich. Hmm?
Ahh, Cronkite, where are you?
It used to be, that reporters would preface stories with disclaimers, presumption of innocence etc. before they "rang the bell". It seems now that needed disclaimers, and clarification, etc. are more like a back announcement, something said after the facts are blabbed and the damage is done. In retrospect, perhaps many a doubt or aspersion is cast about on live air in order to fill, then hence pay for, all the time that CNN has set aside for all of their "experts" and pundits to get a word in. If you are really cynical, you may suspect these scripted doubts and aspersions are the fodder for all of the increasing time on air of pundits, politicians, authorities and, of course, the numerous network "consultants".
And if Wolf Blitzer says "Stay with us, we'll have that up for you right after the break", (AND NEVER DOES!) less than thirty one times in his 3 hrs, I will just eat a peach pie. He also, builds up his 'breaking news' as a can't miss proposition, only to again and again disappoint the viewers who think surely there's a huge Situation. After all, it is a "Situation Room". So he makes the little story into a seemingly stop -the-presses story. By the way, why do TV anchor persons have around fifty sheets of paper from which to read off of? Off point, sorry.
It is drama. Is it not? The reporting of news changed dramatically after 9/11/2001. It was then that most networks followed suit, compelled, I am sure, by readiness for the sure to come next disaster. This, I am almost sure, was the inception of "The Situation Room". As if all of life, having changed forever, would always be having some sort of situation going on in the world. I think Wolf lost the desk and chairs formats in lieu of a tactically huge "thing" in the center of the studio that Wolf, and his guests could run up and around in the case of a "Situation" without being encumbered by chairs, etc. The other networks followed suit as well, with serious, sometimes a bit more ominous name for the programs, so it's not Wolf I'm picking on, alone.
Suffice to say, was it perhaps around this time, 9/11, that the "News" changed forever. How do you eclipse a 9/11? You don't. I do know for certain, that news has never been the same since. And instead of timeliness, appropriateness , importance to the world as a whole, even possibly politically controversial reporting, we , the World, get the shovel.
For as we generally trust and leave news programming to the Producers, because they surely have timing, hooks and demographics are. Yet we are still not spoken to as fully aware, involved and mostly mature people. For we don't need dramatic super-music. Nor do we need tacky bright computer graphics to sustain our attention. And getting back to CNN vs. FOX, we most assuredly do not need minimized sound bites that could be just within legal culpability while "helping the public form their opinion".
News was at one time conveyed to listeners via radio, then television viewers. Now, it seems more choreographed,with all the bells and whistles, an overflow of visual aids, and lighting tracks akin to those on "Do You Want to be a Millionaire?"
Is it any wonder that there is such an exodus to on-line formats of news gathering and reporting. We can choose from hundreds of sources, taking from each or any what we deem newsworthy. We can educate ourselves rather than allow the Producers of major networks deciding what is of importance that we "learn".
I would hate to see CNN the last bastion of serious news.