28 thoughts on “What This Country Needs is a Decent TV News Network.

  1. Over the weekend I saw the romantic comedy “Morning Glory” (hey, you have to indulge the girlfriend once in a while). The movie’s main character, who’s a morning show producer at war with the grumpy old man and hard-bitten news dinasour play by Harrison Ford (who’s worth the ticket price) asserts that serious journalism is dead was always boring anyway, and that viewers are finally getting what they want (and need), which is fluffy recipe journalism and goofy weathermen. The whole message of the movie, beneath the formulaic romantic comedy gags and laugh lines, is that fluff has thoroughly triumphed over anything like serious journalism, which is boring anyway, and so, get over it. The movie was entertaining and I laughed a lot, but needed to, to keep from crying.

  2. john sherman says:

    As John Prine sang, “blow up your t.v.” On radio you can get pretty easily NPR, BBC and CBC–all of which present stories produced by grownups for grownups. And BBC is even available on the tube, though it involves listening to the ideas of foreigners, which is something no red blooded American would ever do.

    I watch Ed Schultz largely because it’s the only show which has labor leaders on to comment on national issues, even though they don’t have tea bags stapled to their hats. Olbermann is more than a little unctuous but okay. Then there’s Maddow who is smart, funny and makes her staff do research rather than fetch lattes. MSNBC is worth watching if you’ve got something to read while you’re doing it; I’m not sure I’d say the same about the rest of t.v. news related products.

    Incidentally, if the floggers of various medical nostrums when they advertise on t.v. have to have some sort of afterword involving telling the truth of the “yes, our product may aid your scaly elbows but it also may drive your insane and give you liver cancer” sort, why can’t we do the same with political advertising? I’d have found the campaign ads I watched last election more bearable it, if after the 30 second spot, some literally fast-talking guy would have come on and spent another minute explaining why everything in the ad was a crock of shit.

    1. One rule that shouldn’t be so tough to push through would be requiring the candidates to be THE ONLY image and voice on the screen. If Michele Bachmann wants accuse Obama of anti-Americanism, make her hang HER face out, solely. Oh wait … that wouldn’t shame her one bit.

  3. Mike Kennedy says:

    Now that’s funny.

    You claim you want serious BBC type news — what do you call it — news for grownups? Then you admit you watch the evening lineup of MSNBC?

    Seriously?

    1. john sherman says:

      You have another American news commentator in mind as smart as Rachel Maddow? What do you watch Entertainment Tonight?

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        I used to watch E.T. when Lisa something was on there. I thought she was really good looking. I didn’t remember what she talked about but…..there also was a Maria Menuedo or someone like that who was stunning.

        What is SpikeTV? Perhaps I should check it out.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        How do you define smart? I.Q.? I’d watch Dr. Charles Krauthammer or read his stuff any day over Maddow.

        Here is a gem of a recent Post column that gets it completely right:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/18/AR2010111804494.html

        Yes, he’s a little too straight-laced and appears downright grumpy on TV. But there’s some serious synaptic firing there.

        Personally, I don’t like Maddow’s snarky attitude. And her voice, while not as bad as Sarah Palin, distracts me, but if I were a dyed-in-the-wool leftie, I’d probably overlook it. She seems to translate better on TV than on Airhead America.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        Oh, I know. Just sayin’, that’s where the gigs are, low brow, celebrity-driven crap. It’s hopeless. USA Today, five celebrity news reporters for every one covering the congress. Hit the lights on the way out.

      1. Jim Leinfelder says:

        As Frank Rich pointed out on Sunday, there are other sorts of media working hard on that, well, perhaps discounting your assessment of her qualifications:

        Thanks to the in-kind contribution of this “nonpolitical” [TLC reality] series, Palin needn’t join standard-issue rivals like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty in groveling before donors and primary-state operatives to dutifully check all the boxes of a traditional Republican campaign. Palin not only has TLC in her camp but, better still, Murdoch. Other potential 2012 candidates are also on the Fox News payroll, but Palin is the only one, as Alessandra Stanley wrote in The Times, whose every appearance is “announced with the kind of advance teasing and clip montages that talk shows use to introduce major movie stars.” Pity poor Mike Huckabee, relegated to a graveyard time slot, with the ratings to match.

        The Fox spotlight is only part of Murdoch’s largess. As her publisher, he will foot the bill for the coming “book tour” whose itinerary disproportionately dotes on the primary states of Iowa and South Carolina. The editorial page of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal is also on board, recently praising Palin for her transparently ghost-written critique of the Federal Reserve’s use of quantitative easing. “Mrs. Palin is way ahead of her potential presidential competitors on this policy point,” The Journal wrote, and “shows a talent for putting a technical subject in language that average Americans can understand.”

        With Murdoch, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity on her side, Palin hardly needs the grandees of the so-called Republican establishment. They know it and flail at her constantly. Politico reported just before Election Day that unnamed “party elders” were nearly united in wanting to stop her, out of fear that she’d win the nomination and then be crushed by Obama. Their complaints are seconded daily by Bush White House alumni like Karl Rove, Michael Gerson, and Mark McKinnon, who said recently that Palin’s “stock is falling and pretty rapidly now” and that “if she’s smart, she does not run.”

  4. leftymn says:

    Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” often was as clear headed as the more valid journalism of the 50’s and 60’s.

  5. Mike Kennedy says:

    All I can say is any ticket like that will make most reasonable conservatives sit home on election day.

    My prediction: Palin will not run.

    1. PM says:

      I don’t think she will, either. too much of a salary cut. and, she didn’t really seem to like governing, or campaigning, for that matter. what she seems to like is being a personality, the fame and adulation. sort of a political Paris Hilton.

  6. I think she’ll run if only because she so relishes her newfound job as a professional Obama basher, which is lucrative work indeed. She’ll get stomped in the primaries and probably won’t even win her own home state, but she can’t lose because she’ll just blame the “lamestream” media and all those “gosh darn haters” out there and bask in the glorious glow of her martyr-like role as the fearless “feminist” who just kept “reloading” and giving the “middle finger” to her enemies and, being the grace-filled Christian she is, fighting the good fight on behalf of a thankful “Christian nation.” She simply has nothing whatsoever to lose, except more pots upon pots of Alaskan gold and enduring fame, by running for President.

  7. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, I think she does have a lot to lose.

    Unlike others such as Romney and Huckabee, she is a marketing celebrity who gets a lot of media attention and is able to translate that into books, shows, speaking engagements etc.

    Taking a shit kicking will take a lot of the celebrity shine off and much of her influence in some circles of the GOP. Even she can interpret the polls and odds.

    She risks losing her celebrity status, money and will not have any political options.

  8. One of my main concerns reading any criticitism is that people always want someone else to solve our problems. so instead how about we offer a solution.

    Let’s create a replacement to this MSM infotainment news problem. If you and the SRC were to create our startup news alternative, what do you have in mind?

    Here are my suggestions–
    1) Stay web-based…Eff the MSM oligarchy with its impossible entrance expenses (that is what took down Air America more than the weakness in its programming). So, start on the web and grow into GE/Time-Warner later, eh?
    2) Start Local…And connect the dots with other web-based pockets of excellence in other locales. What self-respecting local blogger/news monger wouldn’t love to be linked by your website? And allowed to post Op-Eds on local news on your site? And have their Seattle, Boston, Phoenix story (that has multiple community value) syndicated elsewhere?
    3) Punk the Power…so we have local covered, but of course we are impacted by the news of the world and the pathetic MSM coverage of it. But rather than ignore it completely, cover it satirically. Get some locals to slice it with an edge–there is so much untapped snark beyond what Stewart, Colbert, or the Onion can cover, so capitalize on it. Hire someone to watch MSM news each day and sum up the 5 minutes of value into one 5 minute read ala the Daily Glean. That way when I want to find the real news, I’ll not have to sit through the 30 minutes from hell to get the 5 minutes of coverage.
    4) Use Moderation…Here is where you rule your world, right? Block the obvious trolls, don’t post the hyper-negative types, and lift up the good (pro and con) commentary. And if someone doesn’t like your approach, let them start their own blog.
    5) Raise the news up…not that MN-connection crap, why do people tire of the news, because of all your posting mentions above and they feel helpless to stop the problems, so encourage solutions (require them even) and not mere criticism (which quickly becomes self-perpetuating spiral of negativity).
    6) People Power…what I mean is while we seem to be fabulous in telling corporations and government how to fix ‘their’ problems, we often avoid the elephants in our own rooms; so I’d like news to offer solutions that people can employ personally without needing to contact a corporation or a legislator. Give people options they can employ immediately to problems surfacing into the news.

    Let me know when you want to get started and if I can assist in any way.

    1. PM says:

      Let me tell you what you can do with your crypto-fascist-commie plot to use your propagandistic skills to pull the wool over the eyes of the silent majority of mainstream Americans! You can sign me up!!!

      Take That!

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