Sunday, June 27, 2010


Just a quick response to those who have commented on this blog or in email or conversation about my lamenting of the lack of engaging visuals and technical variety on the major news sources on TV (at least FOX, as much as I despise it's obvious rightwing agenda pumps up their "news" shows with a few lame bells and whistles).

My point is that many people still get their news from cable and network news shows and it is these that lack the technical innovation (with exceptions like The Daily Show proving the rule since their viewership is so much less in comparison to CNN or the networks) and excitement and ability to engage that network news was once capable of (to the level technically possible at the time) and great documentaries have, etc.

Remember the footage of Viet Nam as it was happening (for those old enough?). That turned almost an entire generation into news junkies, because there was so much raw footage from the actual war exposed on the network news, as well as of the demonstrations at home etc.

Now we get a talking head, even if on site, or some standard streaming video that is repeated endlessly (the classic generic vehicle-being-blown-up etc.). There are a few exceptions. That field reporter on NBC, Richard Engel, is a daring, old-style journalist, who along with his cameraman gets some amazing stuff.

But where's the in-depth AND technically explosive stuff that is 21st Century cutting edge?

The best reporting I've seen so far on the World Cup and its impact on local South Africans came, again, from John Stewart's The Daily Show, where John Oliver—the English "correspondent"—actually interviewed local food vendors who aren't allowed within a one mile radius of the stadium in order not to compete with international corporations like Coca Cola and MacDonald's!

Imagine what could be done with that if The Daily Show had the resources of CNN or NBC etc.

I know there's stuff online that does some of what I'm asking for, but there are still many folks who don't get their news from the web. And it's a different experience watching a news show you know is being seen by millions of others at exactly the same time, with that sense of a community coming to some conclusions as a result of a media presentation (ala American Idols et. al.), and a variety of conclusions at that (as opposed to partisan response to partisan news sources on the web).


harryn said...

i'm with ya Michael ...
it's particularly infuriating when you pay for the abundance of cable stations and its the same party-line story on every network - and if opinion is the new news; why not world opinion - like how many other oil disasters are there or what are the indigenous perspectives of the people on the ground in some of the 'hot spots' in Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, etc. - i get more real news out of Hollywood years later with films like Green Zone and 911 than i ever did from the networks ...
and did you ever take notice of the amount of commercial advertisement that often plays simultaneously on the news stations so if you switch between stations you can't even find news - it becomes pretty evident what their loyalties and objectives are ...
then to add insult to injury - my wife, who is from Scotland and Paris hasn't been able to see hardly anything that occurs in Europe in the ten years she's been here - except perhaps, the movie portraying Clinton and Blair - whereas in Europe they cover the world - daily ...
then there's weeks that go by where the largest populations of the world aren't even mentioned throughout the day - that in itself is news ...
i think the news as we used to know it now panders to their sponsors and lawyers with absolutely no moral obligation to their profession ...
hell, they can't even get the weather right - i remember listening to the forecast on the radio five minutes before i went to bed as a kid and i knew what to wear and what to expect - today with sky cams, doppler radar, and vast networks of communication; weather reports are sounding more like George Carlin monologues with less reliability ...

Robert Berner said...

Lal--harryn is right--it's getting harder to get news that's not just infotainment. Still, there are sources: BBC, Deutsche Welle, Der Spiegel, ORTF, CBC, Globe and Mail, etc., all of which are available on-line, as are the English newspapers Guardian and Independent, as are CounterPunch, ReaderSupportedNews and TruthOut. And even the networks still occasionally tell the truth, as was the case with last night's Dateline story on NBC, "A Father's Mission," a piece on the Army's ultimate whitewash of the deaths of nine GIs in Afghanistan, thanks to poor planning and support of a platoon in an isolated and dangerous Afghan valley.
The truth is still out there, but they're making us work harder to get to it.
Bob B.

Anonymous said...

And now the news via the Kingston Trio and Merry Minuet

They're rioting in Africa (whistling)
They're starving in Spain (whistling)
There's hurricanes in Flo-ri-da (whistling)
And Texas needs rain
The whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch

But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
For man's been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
And we know for certain that some lovely day
Someone will set the spark off

They're rioting in Africa (whistling)
There's strife in Iran
What nature doesn't so to us
Will be done by our fellow *man*

And as we always say in closing. the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

Kingston Trio Rules! Mr. DeVille said something to the effect of it's a mixed up shook up world. The Supreme Court says we need handguns to protect ourselves- from what? other people with handguns and auto-fucking-matic weapons? What about "reason" and "dialog"? Morehei Ueshiba says "your spirit is the true shield." We need to foster and nurture spirit, more powerful than any gun. Lao-Tzu says: "What is a good man, but a bad man's teacher, and what is a bad man, but a good man's job?" Substitute "ignorant" for "bad" and, we've got our work cut out for us.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...

There goes our evil commie government again:

How dare they do something so unAmerican??