Reason as the Leading Motive

Byte-sized World

Posted by Jerry on August 8, 2005

I find this very frustrating about American News journalism. They attempt to tackle large, complex issues like abortion, gay rights, historicity of Jesus, global politics, etc. in basically 10 minute segments of their evening news formats.
And when they do those news magazine shows like Dateline or Nightline, etc. they attempt to drastically simplify these complex issues in favor of getting “hot quotes” or byte-sized information.
Very rarely do we really get a truly analytic commentary or in-depth inspection into all sides of an issues that is being explored for atleast more than a 10 minute segment, and in a format that does not exploit the sensationalism of sound-byte news gathering.

I feel that if the news networks cannot dedicate such time and depth to such stories due to whatever business or marketing constraints they might have, then they should simply not even made a PRETENSE at trying to exlore those issues in their regular news formats. It’s amazing that within the 30 minutes of evening news broadcasts, they have to cram in about 5-6 stories, headline news, in-depth analysis, person of the week, filler talk, and commercials!!

I understand that these byte-sized 10minute news formats largely developed in response the behavior of the American public. The American people in general do not want to make the effort to THINK while watching TV. TV is supposed to be escapist and sensationalist for them. They want others to TELL them what to think. They do not even care to have the journalists themselves do any much of thinking or analysis on TV, because that would make it “nerdy-news”. People have a tendency to rally around slogans and catch-phrases — sound-bytes that are provocative and sensational. They do not have the patience to sit around listening to facts and analysis or even figuring it out themselves.
They impatiently watch the news, then they switch to another channel during commercials, then they impatiently watch another channel, and so on and so forth.

The only saving grace of American news media is the Public Television Stations programs. I wish we had more of that. I know that when I become rich and have tons of money to give away (if I so choose to), I will definitely be giving some of my money to the PBS stations.


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