Monday, October 12, 2009

News Snooze

Well, we've done it. We broke down and antenna. This might not sound like a big deal, but it has changed our life quite a bit.

We have a relatively new TV, so we avoided the digital converter box installation drama. However, we had been surviving without cable for some time, subsisting on movies and netflix, when we decided it was time to plug back into the world of broadcast television. With a powerful antenna that could get signal even in our basement condo, we were reconnected. I soon realized that there wasn't too much was new. There are only about 5 shows: Medical Show-ER spinoffs, Crime Show-NYPD Blue Spinoffs, Reality Show-RealWorld Spinoffs, Young Adult Show-Friends Spinoffs and, well, the news.

Now, I'm not sure what's happened with TV news since I've been away, but whatever it is it is NOT good. For instance, here are three news stories I saw this week:

Turtle's Life Saved This story had two trailers in the first half hour of the show making it seem like some miraculous veterinary triumph. When the story finally came on it was this: someone had let her pet turtle outside (well, there's your first problem), which had gotten attacked by a racoon and lost its two front legs, but the vet had "saved" it by attaching small felt furniature moving pads to the front of its shell so it can still push itself around with its back feet. Don't get me wrong, I think it's important to have good veterinary care, but why is this on a nationally syndicated news show?

Girl Wants IPOD The trailer for this story informed us that a young woman who had been attacked by robbers in her own home was asking for something special. What it is? I thought. Forgiveness? Reconciliation??? How Christian, I thought. When the story finally came around at the end of the hour, it turned out the girl was asking for her IPOD.

Fight Over Fries This story was reported in each of three news hours on each of three different news channels. Apparently, two customers in a McDonalds in in Qunicy, MA had attacked a worker after she had given them the wrong size order of fries.

I'm amazed that these stories pass for "news." Not a single story engaged any issue of national or international importance. Not one of them opened a wider discussion about important topics such as drug use, health care, or crime. Are we not fighting wars on several fronts right now? Are we not having an economic crisis? Are we not facing a battle on health care reform? Are we not attempting to institute nucelar disarmarment and create peace in the middle east? Why, then, are we talking about turtles, ipods and french fries?

*The photo above is not quite the model we got, but it's close!

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