TV news is getting harder and harder to watch. I’m not talking about the natural disasters, personal miseries and constant flow of global atrocities. It’s the stations, anchors and correspondents that make me want to tune out. I long for the days when newsmen sat at a desk and told you what you needed to know. Why is it in vogue for anchors to stand up all the time? Is it supposed to make the news more fun? It doesn’t. Sit down, please, just sit the hell down. Easy on the banter. Standing and chatting doesn’t draw me into the conversation and you’re not half as charming or witty as you think you are. Quit it with the queer sound effects and Top 40 songs. And spare me the citizen journalism; if I want to get my information from some amateur shmo with a goofy handle I’d go online.
The Internet is also where anonymous tweets and personal-opinion emails need to stay. “‘We need better healthcare reform,’ says @robbyray” is not news and I don’t care what Carol29 thinks about Tiger’s divorce. Astonishingly, Saturday Night Live pretty much hit it on the head this weekend. Spot on. Funny? Meh. But spot on:
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Way to go with the astute commentary, guys. Anchors, take note.
You know what’s even more ridiculous than anything else in comparison? The new interactive, massive, flat screen monitors, that they use to click and drag pictures and other things around on. It drives me absolutely insane. They don’t even know how to use them properly and it’s hard enough for them to have a coherent thought in the first place without also trying to use a 4 foot iPod at the same time.
Good point. Don’t even get me started. Gosh, them big boards warrant a rant of their own.
Tell me about it!
I remember those things being paraded about during the last elections. They don’t really have anything appropriate to put on them; might as well stick a looping dancing banana singing Peanut Butter Jelly Time on them.
Just an example of useless tech adoption.
I remember when CNN started. It was ordinary-looking people telling you what’s happening in the world. Headline News was a complete newscast, every 30 minutes. I miss that.
Seriously. Rick Sanchez and his “aye dios mio” sound effect? An insult. And for the love of god will someone please punch Richard Quest in the mouth? (Really hard.) Newsmen are not characters and their personalities, real or contrived, should not overshadow their job to bring facts to the public. Pour out a little liquor for the dignified news anchor.
You’re right, just plain news please, and how about without an opinion or slant?? I’d like well spoken people, without five pounds of make-up trying to be slick with the sexual innuendo & banter… if we wanted that we could see that on the sitcoms, thanks…
This is precisely the reason I don’t want the news on television anymore. Glad I’m not alone in my sentiments…
As a journalist who is jumping ship on the industry as a whole I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, the citizen journalism and tweet crap is part of why I’m outta here. Thanks for your perspective!
The professional news anchor died a long time ago…along with the professional journalist who once held the government’s feet to the fire.
The past few years I’ve lost all respect for reporters. I agree with you completely. Reporting tweets and online messages as news is lazy reporting. Sadly too much of what I see on news channels or programs isn’t fit to be called news, it has no place on a respectable news program.
Great post, Mandy.
Even when they do sit behind actual desks, they don’t even bother to have walls behind them, it’s usually open space with what looks like a control room for a Nasa launch- people milling around pretending that what they’re doing is more important than the broadcast that is happening on actual TV. It’s television’s equivalent of an open kitchen. This has always amazed me. I think it means 1 of 2 things:
1. The network wants people to believe that actually work is going into the broadcast and real people with actual computers (always cathode ray tube monitors, fyi) are in attendance and working.
2. The network simply doesn’t care what the viewer thinks about what he/she is watching. As if to say “you may be spending your thursday evenning watching this newscast, but we don’t care if the set looks professional.”
You’re right. In my opinion, the value that traditional newsmedia holds is in it reputation for fact checking and quality journalism. When they crossover and stoop to tweetings and such, that’s when the waters get murky.
What makes SNL so funny is that there is so much truth in that sketch it isn’t funny. Be nice if journalists would do their jobs someday.
great point. and don’t even get me started on the weather peeps… seriously.
WOW! A SNL skit that doesn’t suck! A rare find. :)
I’m quite sick of all the news media as well. Try watching something like Fox & Friends and not find yourself want to bang your head against a wall. The bias, fear-mongering, rumors, hearsay and utter idiocy that gets reported as “news” is flat-out irresponsible.
Save your sanity. I trust Jon Stewart and The Daily Show over anything reported on CNN or Fox News.
Oh my gosh you are so right. The casual news rooms now make us want to tune out as well. That’s why we tend to get all of our news online, it cuts out most of that.
I killed satellite tv long ago and opt in for Hulu and google news at night. I’m not nearly as stressed out! But before I pulled the plug on my tv, I remember one “news” show that supposedly took place at happy hour in a Manhattan bar where the wanna be cool people sipped booze and talked stocks. Talk about dumb. The networks really have no idea that we just really want the headlines, quick, and then on to HOUSE, M.D.
I’ll take the long version of a story. I’ll take the slant. I’ll even take the commentary. What I can’t take is the pointless banter and the faux conversation. It angers and saddens me that the American news media feel that in order to deliver information to the public they need to trick us into thinking we’re watching MTV or hanging out with friends. I’m not a dog; you don’t have to wrap my medicine in a slice of bologna. A typical broadcast presents such enormous slabs of bologna that the medicine has fallen out.
This is certainly no overnight development. I remember discussing nearly 10 years ago how reporters seek out “experts” on a situation or topic rather than doing research and checking facts on their own, like they used to do. “I don’t feel like putting in the time myself, so I’ll just ask this guy with a bunch of letters after his name to talk about it for me.” The place at which we are now is the natural progression from that, for sure. The SNL sketch was funny to me because they did very little exagguration–they didn’t need to, it’s really gotten that ridiculous.
I wonder how long it will be before the people in charge of this catch on to what they’re doing and try to change the medium for the better. Oh . . . and on how they don’t have enough news to fill the day so they fill it with crap . . . do we have any idea how much important stuff is going on outside the US, but still affects us? Talk to any obnoxious international about what’s going on the world that we “stupid Americans” know nothing about some major world events that have been going on for years. I follow the news, and it feels like all I know about is celebrity and political gossip, Israel vs. Pakistan (go Israel!), The War on Terror, and up until a month or so ago, the World Cup. We have the time for it . . . why aren’t they reporting it?
Anyway, thanks for the post. The more ridicule we can throw their way, the better off I think we’ll all be.
BBC News…Thank you…no more CNN, Fox News, or MSN….BC…absurdity for me…just the stories…from Zanzibar to Madagascar…not just celebrities crashing cars after leaving bars….or whatever tabloid tale ripped from Star…au revoir…I’m moving on, please don’t call
a network of faces from different places leaving fragmented traces
Oh! Hot button issue for me! Here are my news pet peeves:
1) Living in Florida, we get the occasional hurricane. For some reason, as we’re hunkered down in our houses, wind howling and trees blowing sideways outside, the news feels the need to put a reporter – clad in a non-hurricane-proof raincoat of course – outside in the midst of it. They make a big deal about being able to “lean into the wind!”. I long for the day when a good gust picks a reporter up and blows him or her away. Without getting hurt of course.
2. Reporters who report from outside a building or location well after the newsworthy event occurred. What value is it for me to see the empty office building where some city commissioners voted on a (usually) non-news event? Why couldn’t the anchor just tell me?
3. News anchors, particularly female ones, who contort their mouths into awkward and unnatural positions while delivering the “news”, because some stylist or some other such “expert” teaches them how to talk without showing too much gum or teeth. I fixate on the mouth instead of the news and wonder if they realize how ridiculous they look.
4. Anchors – usually female – who wear trashy and/or tight-fitting clothes. I find this usually on FOX network, but mainly local news anchors/reporters of most any station. Just because you can fit into it doesn’t make it appropriate!
Enough for now, but I could go on!
Thanks for the post.
Nice post! This is a large reason why I do not watch Sportscenter near as much as I used to. The attempts at comedy are ridiculous. I get much easier and better access to highlights and scores online.
Great post! I’m so tired of trying to find some news on TV and getting inundated with Chicken Soup for the Stupid. Thanks for helping me laugh about it.
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Good Post! Most of the news today are either too boring or full crap !
Well said. Let me add…
>News commentators who are clueless about world events, politics or history, but attractive and with nice voices.
>Talking heads with opinions about what my opinion should be about an event.
>Man in the street interviews about what they think about an event. Sorry, really not interested.
>Reporters interviewing reporters about what they think
>Liberal and/or conservative bias. Reporting is supposed to be factual and unbiased. Editorial programs are another story.
>Angry people being rude and yelling at eachother.
I read about a survey last year that found the most trusted TV news source now is John Stewart. That is sad and rather alarming, but not surprising.
It is sad that so is the level of news shows in the US. I mean, I live in Mexico (Mexico!) and I believe our newscasts are far more serious! I was in LAX last week with my girlfriend, we entered a restaurant to wait for our flight and we saw on the news (at around 10 pm) these girls who apparently went to the same plastic surgeon! One of them was an apparently Asian woman acting as an anchor and the other one was a reporter. They weren’t even cute, they were TOO artificial and funny to look at. Funny we were thinking and talking about that, because the big news while we were there was the death and funeral of A PLASTIC SURGEON! The Surgeon to the Stars they called him. The people interviewed were holding candles that, if I go too far, matched in color with the nail polish of some of his patients! A memorial was shown, more interviews and, yes, breaking news! What news could break when the guy was already dead?!?! Yet more women with obvious non-appealing surgeries done, mourning for the friend, the scientist (spare me! I’m a real one), the man.
My girlfriend and I knew we just HAD to fly out of LA and back into our beloved Mexico :)
PS To those commenting about the huge touch screens: Wait until they all get iPads! It’ll be the same thing but harder to look at.
huh? There’s still news broadcasts on TV?
@Swede: Thoes are among my biggest peeves as well.
You make such relevant points- many a time I have thought the exact same thing. You know another thing about the newscasts that abboy me are the weather reports. Most timers its some forced hilarity banter joking with the anchors (this is morning TV) and a jabber on about the weather- saying much nothing… may I add I live in England- 9 times out of 10 you juse need one word: rain- and then let’s just get on with it…
You want to talk about silly… I get all my TV on the free air waves, and so all I have to watch in the mornings is Fox News. Well, Fox Talk-For-20-Minutes-About-Other-Anchor’s-Personal-Lives.
And weather is always an agonizing joke. It takes them 10 minutes to tell me it’s going to be sunny in Phoenix, yet again.
Hahah this made me laugh :D
And you wonder why today’s youth is uninterested in todays politics/issues and everything else. It’s not our fault, and I am generalizing youth as a whole.
Whenever I read a post like this I count my lucky stars that I live in the UK where at least 50% of the anchors are competent. What annoys me is the reports: they follow the same structure all the time and the talking heads are awful, most of the time never answering the question that was asked in the first place! I’ve occasionally watched a couple of American news channels (yes, even FOX) and thought “thank my lucky stars”. The presenters are awful!
I agree! And now you have to see the persons whole outfit. What happen to half news people. Good Morning America even shows the anchors designers is the credits. Just report the news! http://www.copperetiquette.wordpress.com
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i say that no kids should be able to watch tv the way they do. Its bad for them and bad for us. Kids that are under the age of 14 should not be able to watch certain movies but they do. Its life nobody is going to stop there kids from watching certain movies
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haha swede! great call about reporters interviewing reporters! its so true. ESPN is the biggest offender of nearly everything, namely:
-experts with no clear level of expertise
-the attitude of the on-air talent to believe the sports content is there to support THEIR personality and not the other way around
-the patented interviewing of an interviewer of a large sports event (do we care what jim gray thought about his interview with Lebron?)
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Election coverage, blah! Primary night John Roberts on CNN trying to make the race between John McCain and J.D. Hayworth sound like a nail biter. Disaster for Republican party, huge victory for tea party! If Roberts (or whoever feeds him) had spent 15 seconds looking into it he’d have known the race wasn’t remotely close. But reality doesn’t matter, only drama. The reporter he threw the story to, I think it was John King, looked a bit taken aback to be handed such baloney.
And I love it when the crawlers across the bottom of the screen, which don’t seem to be updated daily, contradict what the human news person is saying.
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And you wonder why today’s younker is blase in todays politics/issues and everything added. It’s not our break, and I am generalizing juvenile as a whole.