Did you know that NEWS stands for North, East, West, and South? It could just as easily be WESN. Stay tuned for the 11 o-clock Wesn! We went from getting 21 minutes of news a day to today’s 24/7 news gluttony. Like Thanksgiving dinner, we have binged too much. Its time to purge.
Back in the halcyon days of the late 90s, a zaftig White House intern named “Monica” was more famous than Danica, Michelle, or Condi. She did more for the sale of cigars than Edie Adams or Susan Anton ever imagined. Doris Kearns Godwin and her fellow “Presidential Historians” made the rounds of all 37 cable news channels to tell us that ribald shenanigans at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue were hardly new. This was then followed by the film clip of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday to Jackie Kennedy’s philandering hubby.
The point I took from all of that was/is “Is the world crazier than it ever has been” … OR … Do we simply have ravenous media monsters with enormous 24/7 appetites.
I have to believe a whole lot of crap was happening when “media” consisted of just three identical TV networks, a handful of “big city” newspapers, and two wire services Everything else was local AM radio and your local newspaper trying its best to get obits almost correct and not screw up the local high chool sports scores.
My mom, God rests her soul, (the same one with the separate cup and saucer for “the colored” maid) would lament calamities and scandals based on whatever “they said …”. “They” were Walter Cronkite, Huntley & Brinkley, and Douglas Edwards. We would later learn that that whole kit and caboodle were further “Left” than Howard Dean without his ritallin, Uncle Walter especially was dizzier than Jimmy Carter on a Tilt-a-Whirl; but “they” gave us “the news” for 15 minutes each night, later to expand to a full half hour.
These three “nightly newscasts” were 99% identical. “Everything that happened today” was condensed into 21 minutes of actual time minus the commercials.
As for the “big city” newspapers … we just saw them in those movies about “big city newspapers” with editors w/ rolled-up sleeves, cub reporters, and guys with fedoras with PRESS stuck in the hatband (and “a racing form” in their pocket). For us out in the hinterlands, The New York Times was primarily known for its Sunday crossword puzzle. The hotel soda shop in my town got a dozen copies late Sunday afternoon and one was always saved for my grandmother.
Something called AP and UPI reported everything. They had “stringers” who shinnied up telephone poles and sent morse code reports about train derailments in the Cumberland Gap or a flood in Johnstown PA.
The local radio news stuck mainly to the price of soybeans and pork bellies and the local police blotter. I recall lots of drunk drivers and people in “the housing projects” knifing each other. If something “happened” but could not fit in Uncle Walter’s 21 minutes or on “the old Gray Lady’s” pages, did it actually happen. Did it “matter”?
Fast forward to 2006 where we have 100+ TV channels instead of three and more Internet websites than grains of sand on Waikiki. Is it “news” just because CNBMSNC needs to fill dead air at 3:45 AM? Like the dozens of jewelry stores at your local mall, at what point is ENOUGH ALREADY!
To accommodate “news junkies” could we simply have CNN for Libs to bash Bush and FoxNews for Conservs to bash the Bush-bashers. Pick your poison. Us Conservs despise CNN almost as much as Libs hate Fox … and few under 70 watch CBS, NBC, or ABC anymore. The “addition” of Katie Couric at CBS will add two pervs named Moe from Kalamazoo who like to watch Katie while pounding their tallywackers with a ball peen hammer.
On CNN you could have Wolf Blitzer or James Carville or Cindy Sheehan telling you that “whatever George Bush did yesterday or will do today or tomorrow is wrong and lets count those chads one more time.” At Fox it would be a drop dead hottie with a Master’s in International Cuteness saying “Here’s another really goofy picture of Algore and a sound bite of Nancy Pelosi wishing more Marines were killed today in Baghdad.”
The two networks could share those insipid “point counterpoint jousts” with X from “the right” and Y from “the left”. Do we really need Ann Coulter and Paul Begala screaming snappy repartee at each other one more time. …. And Chris Matthews … Please … use him and Geraldo as crash dummies.
I, for one, am worn out from pundits, info-babes and “correspondents”. If I had to choose between a poke in the eye with a sharp stick or hearing Christiane Amanpour say “Katuysha” … I pick the stick. Christiane sounding like Rudyard Kipling in a Buster Brown wig and wearing her Official “correspondent’s jacket” is even hokier than Danny Rather in a trench coat and tied to a utility pole as “the Hurricane lashes the Gulf Coast”.
It didn’t take long for this latest “conflict” to develop its “buzzword”. For Daddy Bush’s Iraq War it was “scud”. For Mogadishu it was “warlord”. Now its “Katuysha rockets”.
We get about 100 channels give or take. I can zip thru’em in about 30 seconds. Like most hetero-guys I start with ESPN / ESPN2. If I see the words “Poker”, “Bass Fishing” or “Billiards” I pound the channel change key. I go right to USA Network, TNT, A&E, or Spike hoping for Casino, Roadhouse, or Green Berets … or Blade 1 or Blade 2 (but not “the series”). During Holidays, of course, we get Bond-athons, Dirty Harry-athons, Chuck Norris-athons.
I will pause at Lifetime IF Donna Mills is involved and there is a “women in prison” scene.
I totally avoid CNBC, MSNBC, CNN, CNN2, HeadlineNews, Weather, and 90% of The Comedy Channel (Caddyshack being the exception) to eventually get to HGTV, The Food Channel, and Travel Channel. I have erotic dreams about Rachael Ray in a hot tub of EVOO. I do NOT have erotic dreams about that Travel Channel blond that tours “the Great Hotels” … Samantha Brown, she gives me the willies. I think she and Jamie The Mythbuster in the beret are somehow related.
My new best friends at “major metro papers” like The N&O are seeing a major cultural change. Subscriptions across the country are way down regardless of what “they” say. Ad pages are down proportionately. Remember that “newspapers” are actually advertising vehicles with news copy interspersed between ads. Every paper has a website now and paper “papers” are losing their importance by the day. As my buddy Big Bobby says … it won’t be long before “newspapers” join “the phone booth” in the historical museum.
Were there as many certifiable nutjobs in the 50s-60s pre-24 hour news? I have to think there were. Were politicians as crooked and duplicious. Huey Long, LBJ, Tricky Dick … yep, probably.
Was there as much Woo Woo News? Probably but just not enough time or news pages or “websites” to get it on the air or in print. That’s what “newsreels” in movie theaters were for. The giant vegetables and human freaks got on “the newsreels”. Now they are the lead stories.
Sure Ed Murrow, Uncle Walter, and their “take ourselves oh-so-seriously” ilk were hardcore left-wingers BUT they still only had 21-minutes and a finite amount of page space. Ergo the fringe whack-jobs like the ACLU, Algore’s Climate Commandos, the Wal-Mart haters, the endless species of sexual deviants and fetish freaks, and the rabid bats of academia simply had no voice. Like trees falling in the deep woods, no one heard their rants and brays. Likewise the extreme Right had limited outlets for their dogmatic viewpoints other than the occasional cross-burning, etc. But those days are long gone.
Case in point … would Mikey Nifong, Kim The Embezzling Ho, and “Cousin Jakki” be internationally known clowns without 500 news satellites?
BobLee has “faith” in entrepreneurism. Somebody somewhere is saying right now “Despite 95% of the current news channels having a hard time making payroll every Friday, WE have a concept that will be different …” Midgets juggling chainsaws in their underwear while reading “the news” in pig latin.
I might check it out IF they have a girl midget that looks like Donna Mills.
Great Movie Lines
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat”
Name the actor and his character?
BLS Sez …
Your mamma’s macaroni & cheese was always “better”
…Even if it wasn’t.
Harold Reynolds was first and foremost a Seattle Mariner.
Coach K has his Battier and Brand on our USA Team. At least we dodged the dreaded Cherokee Parks option and Cory Maggette … ouch! UNCers who will bitch and moan are too young to remember Tom LaGarde on Dean’s Montreal Olympic “Dream Team”.
Derm Update: Lewis Cheek gathers 6,300 petition signatures and now says he won’t take the DA job. The Idiot Nifong will be defeated by “Anybody But Mikey”. Meanwhile two of Derm’s “not-so-finest” apparently “hurled epithets” at a black dishwasher at a Raleigh Sports Bar. No mention if these epithet hurling cops were the same ones Mikey used for his illegal search and seizure of Duke players rooms or that conducted the illegal “photo lineup” with Ho #1.
Before you ask … that FoxNews hottie pictured above is Heather Nauert.
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