Cable News Opinion

Bijan Izadi, Photo Editor

For me the news symbolizes what should be an equalizing factor that gets everyone the information to make them better citizens. For me I think of CNN and its fresh modern look late at night, the soothing tone of the reporter, giving the daily news and updating me on the news happening as the day begins across the world. I don’t love how it is done though, TV is only the current paradigm of how these commercial entertainment networks stay relevant in the lives of people. When you are watching news on TV, on any channel, it is so very important to realize the bias associated with how every word is spoken. The speed of information is much faster than the speed of CNN correspondents or Fox correspondents reciting news that happened days ago at times, its never “breaking news”. This doesnt allow for the truth to be fully explored. This is fine of course, but their goal is never to get to the truth, they start and stop wherever is convenient for the quick message they want to label as news. The news on TV is half created to “inform” and half created to entertain. Why do you watch the news on TV? Why do people watch fights on World Star? Same reason. News is entertainment. Being informed is really good in our society. It is possible to get good information from network news, but you have to be careful how you get it and any hidden biases associated with it. If you’re reading this, what biases do I have?
When you watch the news, take into account that you are watching three to eight minuets of advertising for every 30 minuets of TV. Ever notice that when advertisements come on TV they get really loud? This is one of many psychological tactics advertisers use to get your attention, other simple ones include use of color that catches your attention, and “hot words” that also catch your attention. But what bothers me the most is the amount of time people spend watching the SAME advertisement. If every person did the equivalent of the close reading they do on advertisements, but on books, music, art, architecture, relevant things that have meaning, maybe we would solve more problems than create problems that we do when we sit there unaware of what is happening in the world, consumed by the drone of senseless advertising. I do really like this one commercial however, and it is a PSA on public health. It centers on a young kid who is so lazy he calls is old grandmother, who is in the house with him, on the phone and tells her to get him more soda.
What does comedy news make you think of? I think of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show (and now Trevor Noah), Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report (and now his new, extremely smart show The Late Show), and John Oliver and Last week Tonight. All of these shows are characterized as comedy, but they have been an incredible source of what is going on in America and around the world for many people. I think there needs to be a clear, rather than the subtle one that exists today, distinction of what is on TV that actually informs people of important information and what is on TV labled as news but is really just a force that drives fear and viscerally tricks people into believing things as fact which are not true or not the whole truth.
“Breaking news” and “Coming up after the break” are statements that make you stay for the commercials, often never fulfilling the promise. The speed of information is much faster than the speed of TV news. If you want to get information try the Internet, there you will find every type of media that is being used to distribute information on the world to the world. My favorite thing to listen to almost every day is PRI The World, you can find it on the internet. Understanding, or attempting to because there is so much information, what is happening in the environment around us is good for you and everybody.