We in the print media, temporarily under siege — will not be castigated in this article. Lets concentrate on the medium watched by most Americans: cable and network news.
Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," Florida senator Marco Rubio was explaining how immigration reform is not amnesty. Nothing new. So I turned to ABC and who's there, but Marco Rubio explaining how immigration reform is not amnesty. My salvation is a CBS report on why we should love our IRS.
Later I learned that Rubio appeared on SEVEN talk shows — to explain how immigration reform is not amnesty. Who could have forced ABC and NBC to be used in this self-aggrandizing and boring exercise? And why would Rubio do it to himself? The primaries are far away and it's not prudent to become a clown before he absolutely must.
The verdict is in: Both cable and networks are numbingly boring. Every bit of news, from the mundane to the magical, is snoozingly boring. It's a yawn, an Ambien-replacing brain fogger.
In the 80s, Genadi Gerasimov, a Soviet PR envoy, appeared on a TV show and was asked about the lack of media freedom in his country. Genadi responded: You Americans pride yourselves on your freedom of the press, so why is it that every evening, each network repeats the same news, often in the same order and phrasing? Can't your editors find other stories?
Because, dear Genadi, we aspire to optimum boringness!
Cable is no carrier of excitement either.
MSNBC and FOX are mirror images of each other. As a liberal, my heart is with MSNBC; but even I must admit that oftentimes it descends into evangelical liberalism. I shrivel when Al Sharpton, Lawrence O'Donnel or Ed Schultz, referring to John Boehner or Mitch McConnel,soulfully opine: Sir have you no shame? In its pursuit of blandness MSNBC relegated the over-emotional Schultz to Saturdays and is crowding its schedule with young interchangeables like Ezra Klein, Chris Hayes and Ari Malber.
FOX specializes in conservative kvetching.
Oh, they moan, why can't America understand that we stand for God-inspired truth and that our values will restore America's greatness. (Rush Limbaugh calls us MSNBCers "information-challenged," i.e. stupid.) Ad nauseam they repeat: generational theft, our children will pay for the deficit from here to eternity, and look at the fortune the taxpayer shells out for Air Force One, Michelle's wardrobe, and the grooming of Bo.
Paradoxically, CNN would be better off evangelizing for something. CNN's manifesto is like "Seinfeld" — be about nothing! Objectivity is noble, but nobility is boring. And Wolf Blitzer does not bring a fresh young voice to the CNN lineup.
In the morning each cable organization is ordered by its upstairs honchos to stay with a specific story. (We do understand that everyone on this Monday must stay with the attack on the Boston Marathon.) Most cables oblige to some extent — but CNN goes all the way. For example, it attached itself to the Carnival Cruise ship Triumph, which had lost its power, floating along while the passengers and crew were covered with offal. Poor Anderson Cooper, who had so valiantly reported on the Haitian earthquake, was reduced to interviewing passengers' cousins. At this point I switched to the Animal Planet channel.
Here's how networks and cable describe Kim Jun Un: the inexperienced, young, untested leader, is either 28, or 29, or maybe 30. Instead we could improvise: He hadn't been through the crucible of war and politics; coming of age in relatively peaceful times, he is eager to affirm himself; his age doesn't matter -- but his temperament does.Isn't this more creative?
But the cavalry is poised on the mountaintop. My newspaper, the Sun-Sentinel, has just won the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism. Yeah, we in the print media have triumphed! . To know the truth and not be bored — bring the newspapers back full force!
Email Rachel Patron at email@example.com.