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24 Hour News

August 14, 2015

When I was a kid, the evening news (there was no morning version) came on after dinner so that the entire family could be brought up to date together on the state of the world including local happenings. It was actually enjoyable to sit around with the whole bunch and to be collectively informed. The news reporters or presenters as they are called today were swift to the point, articulate and did their job with the utmost of economy. After a news broadcast, you felt informed and even a bit comforted.

Things changed in the late 1960s as the Vietnam War was brought to the screen nightly along with another lying president coming to us live with a “heavy heart.” News started to become a bit more than just news, sort of an endless series of presentations on the same subject intermingled with a large dose of propaganda. However, there was still very little repetition. Things were still more or less concise. Sadly on June 1, 1980 the whole ball game changed for good with the introduction of the Cable News Network (CNN). News had finally become featured prime time programming and mindless fodder for generations to come.

Flash forward to last year. MH17. Within the first few minutes of the continuous CNN 24 news broadcast, we learned exactly what happened, who done it and all of the gory details. There were taped testimonials of Russian terrorism, photos of the BUK missile unit slithering away in the night (sans one missile) and all of the trimmings. Enough? Oh no, no indeed. We were then treated to a parade of talking heads, terrorism experts, missile experts from every tiny corner of the world. Did any of this change or improve the actual news of the downing of a commercial airliner? No. Was this really news reporting? I tend to think not. You can flip the channel to any story and the formula is the same. There is the core news for ten minutes and then it is followed by hours if not days of fluff, speculation and often even editorial-ism.

So who is to blame for this nauseating news format? We all are! We all just seem totally incapable of getting enough news. It has become a craving and the 24 hour news fix has become our addiction. Again, try to remember back to the days of the one half hour newscast. Are any of us really benefiting from the other 23 1/2 hours of opinion, conjecture, and repetitive political propaganda?  Again, I think not.

Personally, I listen to the opening salvo, absorb what I can and then I move on with the rest of my life. My advice? Watch the first 15 minutes of this non-stop nonsense if you must, then eat some fruit and watch a good movie. You’ll be glad you did. Ted Turner’s little invention has come full circle and bitten us straight on the ass. Smack that little bug with your remote control and move on.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at Amazon.com

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