Friday, May 25, 2007

The cheapest mental health counsel you will ever receive

Stop watching the news. Especially the local news, or what passes for local news in most markets. One of the saddest things I have witnessed in my career is how the local news has become essentially irrelevant other than the weather forecast and occasional sports report. Local news has adopted the cable news motto of "infotainment at the lowest common denominator" and it is truly sickening to watch. Which is why I have stopped watching. Maybe I am a bit of a Luddite, but I get my news from the Detroit News, Wall Street Journal and Monroe Evening News, along with a few internet web sites.

Our local Fox affiliate sent a reporter to Hollywood to cover the American Idol finale, and gave that report as much time as the weather and sports reports. The news division is now shilling for the entertainment side, and it is becoming more obvious. The morning talking head shows talk about the TV shows from the night before, and lead that night's programming. Meanwhile, in our great state of Michigan, we have a $1billion state budget deficit, an imploding housing market, jobs leaving in droves, a feckless governor and a legislature that is unwilling to face the reality that trimming around the edges and accounting gimmicks aren't going to make this go away. We have the 2nd highest gas tax in the country, and the legislature is worried about oil companies gouging. According to an opinion piece in today's Detroit News, the state takes in $7.80 in tax off of a typical gas tank filling, while the oil company profits $2.20. Who is gouging? Yet the media mavens have our attention on the Kodak Theater.

What we see on the news is celebrity gossip, fluff, and the latest body count on the streets from murders, rapes and robberies. I have spoken with TV news producers who tell us this is what their research shows the viewers want. If that is true, then I am truly saddened. Do we really want more "investigative" reporters running around trying to justify their existence? They do a service occasionally with their reporting, but 5 nights per week with three networks leads to some pretty thin stories getting hyped.

I'm looking forward to a vacation. I can't hide my head in the sand. But I don't have to watch the pablum that is being served up under the moniker of 'News." I'm sure I can stay informed some other way without supporting that mess.


bishopman said...

I dispute the value of the weather report. They are rarely right about the forecast for the next day much less a week from now.

sandosha said...

Bravo, Roy, bravo. On point, as usual.