PULLING THE PLUG
My friend John Bradford, one of the funniest, most literate curmudgeons I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, did something the other night that should inspire us all. He got up out of his chair, went over to his wide screen HD TV, and disconnected his cable. He couldn't take it anymore. The swill that passes for news, information, and entertainment on television today finally blew out all the circuits that had been trying his patience over the past several years of media banality that's become today's dumbed down landfill of overblown breaking news that's not so much news as it is a burlesque show of faux reporting meant more to cater to our stupidity than intellect.
Another friend reports that he no longer watches televised news. He'll munch on a little local canapé of important civil defense information such as the imminent arrival of an F5 tornado but that's about it. There's more information online for those who haven't lost the art of reading a sensible English sentence without all the pancake powdered make up of face lifted females and toupee wearing anchormen who, with a theme song dramatically composed to remind us all of the symphonic sound of the end of the world, appear behind the nightly news desk with a grave look on their countenance and a voice that threatens imminent Armageddon should we be tempted not to pay attention.
One of these nights you'll tune in to Brian Williams and see me sliding across the polished news desk on the 5th floor of 30 Rock, my hands around his throat as I throttle him to the floor, banging his head up and down against the floorboards as camera operators hustle to get the best angle of this "breaking news". Like my friend Bradford, I can't handle the speculative blather that passes for news, which yanks our chains with condescending editorializing while forgetting the simple fact that this is all opinion and none of it is based in fact.
Nightly news superstars are now entertainers, anchored comfortably inside their high rise suites while underpaid wannabes freeze their asses off on the streets, stand in the onslaught of hurricane force winds, and do their best to make sense of the story while wondering why they're there in the first place. Television news is dissolving into a work shopped, empathetic dump of news we don't need, attitudes we don't want, and patronizing, pretentious know it all's who prey upon our sympathy while bulldozing our common sense and our adult sensibilities. I cheer Bradford for pulling the plug. Our country, our composure, and our intellect would be better off if we all followed his example. Now that would be news and not just another televised cow pie.