Friday, February 12, 2010

When Coverage Makes Things Worse

This isn't really all that surprising--people are angry at Congress because they're finding out something about how politics runs but it isn't necessarily an accurate picture.

updated: For a lot of reasons, I've been watching way too much cable news throughout the day and evening in recent years.  It's hard to say which is the worst at any given moment because the focus is entirely on the day to day grind of national politics, fed by people who have deep roots in the process and agendas they want to promote. And it doesn't help that the networks insist on covering everything political as if it were the Super Bowl.  Not everything is a game; not everything should be covered as if it were.
 I never would have thought, 10 years ago, that there was the chance that coverage might actually make things worse. But it has. Because it's crappy coverage.  Is it not reasonable to believe that endless appearances by people who, at worst, are clearly lying, and at best, giving a mighty spin to events, eventually turn people off, who walk away shouting a pox on all their houses?

Putting on the BBC shows just how bad our cable news shows are: on more than one occasion, I've found myself caught up listening to lengthy discussions about some matter in the UK that holds no interest to me personally, just because it's such a pleasant surprise to listen to informed people who are allowed to finish a sentence. 

It's hard to believe how tone deaf the US cable operations are. Have you seen the latest Chris Matthews' video where he brags about the joy he takes in catching people fibbing, especially if they've fibbed to others? As if Matthews' ego is what matters.  And while we're at it, I really wish MSNBC and Fox show hosts would stop attacking each other. Who cares?

As newspaper coverage diminishes with budget cutbacks, we are left with less and less actual news and are treated to things like watching George Stephanopoulos, who held out before going to Good Morning America so he could bring even more so-called political coverage to the show, demeaning himself by discussing whether young girls should wear high heels.

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