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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

No Joke: News Is All Second Hand


Are there more comedy, late night shows, and talk shows than there are news shows?

Add ‘em up. Once night is upon us, you have poke-fun-at-the-news shows like The Daily Show with John Stewart and The Colbert Report. There’s Leno, Kimmel, Letterman, Conan, and there’s Arsenio, Ferguson, Fallon, Daly, and Smiley. And Chelsea, Holmes, and Bell. Don’t forget the daytime: The View, The Talk, Kelly & Michael, Wendy Williams, and Ellen DeGeneres.

When you look at the news, what have you got? Local news anywhere is a joke – weather, sports, murder, commercials, and stories about pets. National evening news shows on the main networks are still legitimate but have lost their importance and viewership to 24-hour cable networks that spend more time talking about the news than reporting it. The morning shows are semi-news, a blend of teleprompter reading and celebrity interviews, cooking segments, and the replaying of late-night show highlights.

I’m starting to think Saturday Night Live has the best news program. Its “Weekend Update” is fresh. Making fun of the news is in vogue, and SNL does it as well as anyone. They also feature an occasional bit that is hilarious. It’s called, “Second Hand News.” It features a guest correspondent that manages to get his facts wrong all the time - but he uses words that come oh so close by a letter or two – from being correct.

The correspondent, Anthony Crispino, will say something like: “So did you hear there are problems with Bahama Care? Yeah, apparently the Web Site is forcing people to get healthcare in the Bahamas.” Seth Myers will play the corrective straight man and admonish him. “I think you mean Obama Care,” he’d say.

That’s what the news media has been reduced to. Just a handful of media outlets dig for news and seek to give us facts and figures. The rest analyze it, debate it, and dumb down the issues. Then the late night comedians just joke about war, starvation, crime, and gun control. Bill Maher, on HBO, may be the best talk show host on TV today, but he’s not the news media. Where are the true TV journalists like Cronkite and Murrow?

For now, we’ll have to settle on learning what’s new from those who ridicule or merely debate over it. Maybe it’s just a phase. Maybe it gets worse.

Stay informed, stay active. Otherwise, the world will just become one big joke.  

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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