Health care. Russia. Travel ban. Wiretapping. Budget cuts. Leaks. And on and on and on.
Work up a lather, rinse, repeat.
O Lord, grant me relief from the endless cycle of “news” based on the possibly informed insights, half-truths, pure speculation and outright lies that pass as journalism these days.
Never has so much blather been spent on issues that are no more real than unicorn dust or three-legged Martians. Talk about Russia’s links to the 2016 election or illegal wiretapping is ridiculous until the probes are done. Fury or relief over health care changes is silly until the legislation gets through the sausage factory known as Congress. Same with the budget.
As for the travel ban, its outcome is uncertain until it finally gets out of the hands of judges who don’t understand executive authority and confuse campaign speeches with the wording of legal action.
You want solid information? You’re better off these days spending time on Pinterest projects or following some nobody’s Twitter account.
The problem is, outside of Donald Trump, news is impossible. It doesn’t happen anymore. He hasn’t just sucked up all the air in the room — he’s inhaled the Earth’s entire atmosphere. If anything that doesn’t involve the Prez is going on, it’s not getting a dab of ink, a digital pixel or a moment of airtime.
It’s all so boring.
When I was a young man, the idea of a 24-hour news channel seemed like a dream. Most people had only three options for national and global news — CBS, NBC and ABC — and they provided just 22 minutes a day. As a Detroit suburbanite, I could watch Canadian news, which offered a broader outlook on the world. I could only imagine what vistas a daylong news station would open up.
Ted Turner once considered news a joke. When the feds told him to add a news program to Atlanta’s WTBS to fulfill its public service requirements, he put a dog on the air alongside a human anchor. But after TBS became a hit on cable systems, Turner figured he could make more bucks with an all-news channel. Thus was born CNN.
From the start, CNN was a disappointment, offering repetitious reports on easy-to-cover news. Soon enough came the parade of talking heads to tell us what the news really meant. Gee willikers! Instead of being bored every Sunday morning with Meet the Press or Face the Nation, we got a chance to hear puffed-up pundits seven days a week.
My hopes rose briefly when MSNBC came along in 1996; at the time, thanks mainly to David Brinkley, NBC’s news operation was respectable. But MSNBC followed CNN’s template from the start and never distinguished itself until transmuting into a lunatic asylum for deranged leftists.
By the time Fox News came along, the mold for 24-hour news had become unbreakable. But at least we finally got news that the other channels ignored, plus some conservative viewpoints.
The basic problem is all three news channels are obsessed by immediacy instead of context. Got a wildfire in California, snowstorm in New York or school shooting in Colorado? Brace yourself for the wall-to-wall coverage. The networks are like a dog with a bone that keeps gnawing away long after the last shred of meat is gone.
Yes, at times, the networks have provided a tremendous service. CNN earned its stripes with its Gulf War reporting, and all three channels were invaluable on Sept. 11, 2001.
But the tendency to dwell on a single topic above all else is worse than ever today. CNN and MSNBC are hellbent on destroying Trump, and Fox is dedicated (sort of) to protecting him. The coverage has been going on nonstop since Nov. 9, and I’m done in by fatigue. Maybe you are, too.
But it has to end sometime, preferably soon. Because I have a tip for the news networks: Trump ain’t going anywhere, so get used to him.