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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Not necessarily the news...



I seldom watch more than half of he NBC Nightly News show anymore because the second half is all fluff – entertainment features. Last night's NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams was perhaps one of the worst examples of how degraded and degrading our supposed “newscasts” have become in our modern, ratings-happy, entertainment-oriented TV world.

Yesterday the leaders of Burma defied world opinion and the U.N Security Council and stated that things would not change in Burma, yet Brian Williams and NBC News saw fit to devote a portion of his “newscast” to the story of Ellen Degeneres crying about a rescued dog that she gave to a family.

Yesterday Turkey announced that it may restrict access to U.S. airbases in the country if the U.S., House passes the pending resolution calling the killing of Kurd genocide; yet Brian Williams and NBC News ran footage of a crying Ellen Degeneres saying she was at fault for the dog incident.

Yesterday the U.S. Secretary of State called for the creation of a Palestinian state, but Brian Williams and NBC News was more concerned about the story of Ellen Degeneres and the dog that a family had to give back to a rescue group.

Yesterday 18 airline workers were arrested and accused of being a part of an international drug ring, yet Brian Williams and NBC news chose to focus upon Ellen Degeneres breaking down on her TV show – an NBC show it might be added for full “news” impact.

Yesterday Verizon admitted to giving federal authorities millions of phone records as part of an on-going effort to thwart terrorism, even if it subjugates the privacy rights of U.S. citizens; but Brian Williams and NBC News was more focused upon the Tears of TV personality that the rights of the average citizen.

Yesterday Alan Greenspan said in a new conference that the chances wer less than 50-50% that the U.S. would going into a recession, but the chances were 100% that Ellen Degeneres would break into tears on camera and that was “big news” to Brian Williams and NBC news last night.

There is a higher probability that you will see more on the Ellen Degeneres story this morning on NBC than there is that you will see anything on any of the important real news stories of the day. Why? Because the news is now an entertainment outlet; and, no longer tied to ANY journalistic principals.

There is an opinion page article in this week's Business Week magazine by Jon Fine that basically says the same thing. Fine opines that the main reason that these pseudo newscasts are kept around is that they make money and fill time that would otherwise be tough to program for. In the article Fine pointed out that the average age of the viewers for these "newscasts" is a little over 60, so I guess I'm once again lumped in with the Boomers on this point. Fine argues for keeping these vestiges of the past around; mainly because there is likely little of any value that the networks could offer in the same time slots.

There are old clips of all of the old newsmen that came before Williams (and if truth be told, before Tom Brokaw), as an intro to the show; all of whom must be steamed or rolling in their graves at what has happened to what was once a real news show. I think they ought to just let Mary Hart or maybe a Howe Mandell host the show and stop any pretense of it really being a news show. The NBC Nightly News has become an intro segue to shows like Entertainment Tonight or Access Hollywood. You have to go to the BBC or to Public TV to get a real newscast anymore. What a pity.

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