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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When news breaks...

Back from another quick getaway and once again amazed by just how crummy the news business has become.

To watch CNN yesterday morning, you would think the biggest story on the planet was an airplane hijacking in Jamaica (why someone would want to commandeer a plane to Cuba when that was its scheduled destination is something I'll leave for others to decide).

Nonetheless, breathless CNN anchors took turns chatting up the Jamaican information minister and electronically loitered while waiting for the Canjet general manager to come out for a perfunctory statement and short Q&A.

But the absolute folly was brought home minutes after the top of the hour. After going to their packaged opening, a four-or five minute rehash of everything they had been regurgitating for the prior hour, it's back to the information minister -- who informed us that while the anchors blathered the "troubled young man" surrendered, peacefully.

When news breaks, we miss it -- becase we're to busy setting it up.

Without missing a beat, the "best political team in television" moved on to another "breaking story." Despite the fact they had been flogging it without much conviction over the same time frame, all of a sudden we were now offered the news that the first full Obama cabinet meeting was about to take place -- and the secretaries were going to be challenged to cut $100 million in 90 days!

But then it occurred to me why they could say "this just in." A White House reporter finally punched in and was stationed on the Lawn!

We already know the perils of cable TV news, especially when the "fair and balanced types" play like William Randolph Hearst and attempt to create the stories before our very eyes.

But the over hyping and cheapening of every story may be an equally large crime in the continued degradation of the concept of what we need to know.

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