And so only 21% of Americans trust television news shows, a glum television news industry admits. Or, to put the Czar’s way, 79% of Americans think television news is crap.
Can’t imagine why. Never mind any discussion about left-wing or right-wing bias; that has little to do with it, and in fact could be a salvation. More on that in a moment.
All right, watch the news sometime and maybe it will strike you, too, as obvious. The internet is killing television news for a variety of good reasons: the web gives you up-to-the-minute information on topics you care about. Want more information on the Roberts decision? Click here. Hey, how much will my taxes actually go up under Obama’s latest tax cut proposal? What’s all this about Mr. Higgs’ boatswain? You read only what you want, and only as much of it as you want. Google has this figured out to where it now eliminates anything from Salon.com for us.
But television news consists largely of five things:
- Powerpoint news, in which bullet points summarize events reductio ad absurdum while looped file footage plays in the background.
- Analysis, in which two people of totally bipolar extremes interrupt each other while a moderator eventually reveals how little he or she understands about the topic.
- Breaking News! In which something that is barely a news event in the first place is studied second-by-second by ill-equipped experts until a sort of boredom creeps in, and the whole thing becomes self-satirical.
- A celebrity tie-in. Here is an interview with Justin Bieber. And look how Twilight fans are getting psyched! And why not tell us about your latest sitcom? Viewers eventually realize the overly charitable interview is, of course, a cleverly designed commercial.
- YouTube videos! Hah, hah! Here is the latest viral video you saw three times last week. It’s a cat sleeping on a vacuum! And a Facebook poll that shows 49% of Americans constitute a minority, and LinkedIn says you should avoid wedding fonts on your résumé.
See, it’s ultimately that last one that ticks us off. Television news knows the Internet is kicking its ass, so in an effort to look techy, hip, and trendy, they are pulling their news stories straight off the web.
Like the collapse of newspapers before it, television news is an antequated idea that has overstayed its welcome. Okay, sure—the world can still get by with airport CNN, or FoxNews in the waiting room. In fact, why not just drop the entire façade of balance and go all partisan? It works for AM radio! Conservatives listen a variety of highly profitable right-wing stations, while liberals seek up and down the dial for whatever station doesn’t change formats next month. And it’s okay. Let Fox pander to the right, MSNBC pander to the left, and CNN can either make up its mind or go out of business. Whatever. Meanwhile, CBS, ABC, and NBC can go away; and they can take their inane news/talk morning shows with them. They serve little or no responsible function in this day and age.
This doesn’t mean that ABCNews, for example, needs to go away—heck, give Jake Tapper his own blog. Wait, they almost did. But do we need that 6:30 PM news half-hour each weekday?
In case rhetorical questions aren’t your thing, the answer to that is no. By that time, Americans already are reading the retractions and corrections on the web.