None of you are old enough to remember the “Huntley/Brinkley Report.”. When I started in TV in the early ‘50s Chet Huntly in New York and David Brinkley in DC gave all the national and international nil NEWS in 15 minutes. You read that right, 15 minutes. Local TV stations did a half hour or less on local news and so-called “human interest” stories. (Those were supposed to be amusing, but seldom were.)
Here’s my question: Has the NEWS changed so much that we now have to have cable networks doing 24 hour news programs 7 days a week? I’ll answer that fore you. No, it hasn’t. The world isn’t spinning faster, the ice caps haven’t melted, the seas are not rising, the Middle East is still fighting and always will be. (Here’s a news flash for you, when the world finally ends, and noting is left but cock roaches and fruit cake, there will STILL be a couple of guys trying to kill each other in the Middle East.)
Do we really need to know what is happening in the UK? In Denmark, Norway, and Sweden? Can you live without knowing there is a ship stuck in the Suez Canal? Does that affect your breakfast or your daily commute to work? Of cure not. There is only ONE reason we now have a dozen cable shows running “news” 24/7. Think about it. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH REAL NEW S TO FILL 24 HOURS. So most of so-called news is simply gossip and bullshit from “reliable sources” who remain anonymous. (Translated, that means they made it up.)
The only purpose of these extended pseudo news programs is to provide room for more commercials. Producing a news program is cheap. Much less expensive thatn, say, an entertainment program oar sit-com. So they tease you with, “Gigantic four-alarm fire in huge metropolitan area – after r this brief time out.” And the brief time out consists of four or five commercials. Even local stions have learned the value of cheap news. Man of them now run two hour news programs in the morning, at noon, m in late afternoon, and in the late night period.
Huntley/Brinkley was a no nonsense, noncommercial 15 minutes of pure solid news. And it is my contention that we could still get all the truly important news in 15 minutes. But the bookkeepers have learned that stupid people will shit through 20 minutes of commercials if you surround them with 40 minutes of news-babble. Personally, I gave up “national news”: three years ago and ‘local news” over a year ago. And you know what? I feel better. I’m happier. And I haven’t missed a thing that I needed to know. You actually can live without “news” and you’ll be getter for it. Give it a one week try. You’ll never be a sucker again.