Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities
I agree with Aaron Brown. The priorities of cable news networks have become too skewed in favor of the sensational. With soldiers being killed overseas, our government passing more Patriot Act legislation and other laws that don't make us safer, only less free, who wants to hear about another celebrity shooting or more from Natalie Holloway's mother? I think the Holloway case is the best example right now. Why does this mother get air time night after night to talk about her missing daughter? She continues to impugn the reputation of Joran van der Sloot, who has not been charged with a crime. Now Joran is fighting back, taking to the airwaves himself. What is newsworthy about any of this?
Back to Aaron Brown:
He suggested his eventual demise at CNN resulted from criticizing the network's obsession with lurid celebrity gossip while short-changing meaningful news.
He compared such "breaking news" to heroin -- it's good for a while, but will eventually make you feel used and dirty. "The news in this country is a business," he added.
I don't mind that the news is a business. Networks are entitled to make money. But if they are going to represent themselves as "news networks" they ought to cover news. If they are going to mostly cover what the public wants to watch -- info-tainment-- they ought to acknowledge they are not news networks at that point but just another version of Current Affair. And they ought to give those of us who want the news, and in-depth, insightful reporting of it, a channel to watch it on.
Brown makes the point that viewers actually have to watch the news if they want networks to report it. Right now the numbers skew for the Holloway type stories.
In the perfect democracy that I believe TV news is, it's not enough to say you want serious news, you have to watch it," he said.
Brown makes a suggestion for changing the current focus:
He argued that during any given day there are only between 6 and 10 stories worth reporting. "We should focus on reporting these really important stories well instead of constant breaking news," he said.
That should be so easy to do. All the cable networks have a 60 second breaking news update with a live anchor every 30 minutes. The other 58 (probably 40 without commercials) should be in depth reporting on the day's major news.
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