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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    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#1)
    by Slado on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 09:36:38 AM EST
    I agree with Aaron on this point but I also worry about the media getting stories that do matter wrong. Many on the right believe it's just bias or an agenda but I think the media just suffers from a competition problem and an inncorrect story getting out first is better for ratings then a correct story getting out later. Look at Rathergate, Katrina, WMD, Swift Boat on and on stories get put out, talking points are formed and then months later we learn the real details and background or that the basic facts are wrong and then its too late. Its as if our ability to transfer information is ahead of our ability to make sure that its right. Both left and right have their particular issues with recent events but we should be able to all agree that the media is doing a pretty poor job of presenting any issue correctly. Thankfully the alternative media has arisen to give perspective and focus on issues that we should find more interesting when the media becomes overwhelemd with Natalie Holloway, Cheney shooting, Michael Jackson or Janet Jacksons boob.

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 09:38:33 AM EST
    Amen TL. Instead of the sympathy I should feel for the Hollaway woman, I'm wishing she would disappear too so we can get the evening news back. Not that we would..then it would be nightly specials of shark attacks or other such tripe. All we can do is not watch...but Americans love to watch car wrecks, so that's not gonna happen either. Real investigative TV news journalism may be dead forever.

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#4)
    by Lww on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 03:06:00 PM EST
    When was the last time anyone saw a virulent anti-war commentator on the air? It doesn't happen. It's good for everybody, right? The media is a rubber stamp for the status quo. Always has been, until it pretends to be something different.

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 08:47:44 PM EST
    I say amend the constitution and take away freedom of the so-called press in america, until these f---heads earn it. let them prove that they are worthy of it! the "founding fathers", as they are so fondly called, actually gave these news jokers and scandal mongers constitutional protection, their own goddamned frigging over-arching guarantee of freedom, so that they could represent a serious Fourth Estate, meaning another leg, in addition to the three branches of government, to help THE PEOPLE protect themselves against tyranny. to inform the people and educate the people and assist the people in seeking redress. not to entertain the people or issue news bulletins or devote 2 minutes to the Iraq war and 5 minutes to Nicole whatshername at the supreme court. I like Brown's comparing some of this news stuff to heroin. he's got that right up, to a point.

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 08:58:08 PM EST
    to answer LWW: we only get virulent pro-war, pro-life, pro-big business, pro-tax breaks for the super-rich, pro-school prayer, pro-nuclear weaponary and power, pro-military-industrial complex, pro-neo-con, pro-right wingnut, pro-fundamentalist, pro-interventionist commentary and commentators on the so-called free press networks. I mean, where's the 50-60% of mainstream america in all of this, not to mention the 20-30% of liberal and left-wing america??

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 10:04:20 PM EST
    Of course he's right. KO can deal with it to a degree with the "another story my producers are forcing me to cover schtick" but you know he thinks it's a drag. KO's KO, though. Brown's not a wild man like that. He's a good newsman with a good sense of humor, but he's not KO. Anderson Cooper has to do his share of those crap stories, too. CNN ought to just get back to being a News Channel. FOX is clueless cracker crapolla. Just tellin' the rubes what they wanna hear. That doesn't make it a News Channel.

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#8)
    by Lww on Sat Mar 04, 2006 at 03:23:45 PM EST
    mjm, you must be a youngster? Anti-everything, and proud of it. Half the stuff on your list you'll be disavowing in 10 or 15 yrs. If you're not a youngster, sorry.

    Re: Aaron Brown Criticizes News' Priorities (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 05, 2006 at 09:01:02 AM EST
    Thank You, Emily Littella.