Media

The weather used to be a straightforward affair – temperature, clouds, and precipitation. But now Wanda, the weather-watcher from Westhampton, is invited to tell us what the conditions are where she lives. Then the good-hair guy has to read the temperature in 6 or 7 cities even though it’s plainly written on the screen.

David Paul, KHOU chief meteorologist (how many non-chief meteorologists does KHOU employ?)

Worse, the weather has become a two-part affair. An appetizer of current conditions is spiced with a promise that the forecast is coming soon. And just when the kick-off for the main event arrives, we have to listen to to the banal chatter of the chortling anchors telling the weather woman she’ll be in trouble if the forecast isn’t good.

Just tell me the damn weather – and stop sniggering like mindless school children.

But this reduction of good information to inanity is what the news has become. Politics is only what Trump tweeted. That’s fine for social media – it is why God invented it. But ‘serious’ news should be an appraisal of the details of policy and its effects on the Republic. Not a commentary on the inarticulate thrashings of a stumpy-fingered vulgarian.

After all, for people who like their politics gladiatorial, there is cable news. There, the entertainment is managed with the skill of a professional wrestling impresario. Uneasy alliances, shifting loyalties, deception, two-dimensional bad guys, and boobs. And please don’t accuse me of retrograde sexism, women have done yeomen’s work in clawing their way up the greased pole of pay TV – while the so called ‘liberal mainstream media’ has rarely promoted women to the desk position.

On the other hand, sports, which used to be an easy entertainment, has become the stuff of infinite analysis. People who would have trouble explaining the intricacies of the Republican healthcare plan (and in fairness, who wouldn’t) can extrapolate sufficient sense from reams of statistics to make fantasy-sports wagers.

America’s great newspapers are holding the line. The New York Times and The Washington Post are making money and bucking the naysayers who proclaimed the end of print journalism. And this despite the constant barrage of ‘fake news’ brickbats from the fact-challenged President and his coterie of boot-lickers.

Unfortunately, the damage may have been done. The thoughtful conservative has a limited number of esoteric sources in which to find the news presented with a palatable slant. The Wall Street Journal fits the bill. But there is only so much they can do. The National Review is venerable, but its influence is drowned by the like of Breitbart and the Drudge Report.

The confident thinker reads stuff that contradicts his point of view. One, to hone his position. Two, to know how the other side frames its argument. Three, on the off-chance he may be persuaded to change his mind. But the modern news consumer is drawn only to that which reinforces his sense of ‘knowing what is going on’.

Everything has become a big social club, where people hang out with the like-minded. Where the weather is no longer the weather – it is ‘your weather’ in ‘your community’ on the ‘My Nine’ Channel. It’s offensive to those who belong where they wish to belong and don’t wish to be shoehorned into the neighborhoods assigned them by TV folks.

 

 

 

 

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Can the media please stop treating terrorists like rock stars?

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  The media has elevated terrorists to rock star status. It wasn’t their intention, but it became their effect. After Sandy Hook we heard every intimate detail of the life of the gunman. After the Boston bombing the coverage focused on the life story of the bombers. After the London assassination we saw an endless loop of […]

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