The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

48° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    News Channels Offering Less and Less News

    I never was much of a ‘news-channel’ watcher. One of those rare momentswhen I actually did catch glimpses of grim-faced newscasters was when I joinedmy mother to watch her routine six ‘#145;o clock news.
    As my mother flipped between the competing news channels, I wondered silentlyat the futility of the daily news: a dog run over, a theft on Buffalo Street,and the latest scandal in some big-time corporation. ‘#145;Nothing of value’#146;,said the cynic in my mind.

    In our modern-day lingo, we refer to these news channels in the expansive termof ‘media.’ This boogie media, our scapegoat for corrupting society,was nothing but mindless jumbo and gossip for me. I couldn’#146;t believe thatpeople actually absorbed everything the news offered them; after all, what isso enlightening about knowing that Bill Clinton had a new dog replace his deceasedone?

    Such was the skeptic that entered one of SBU’#146;s theatre classes, which centeredon the production of news networks. My only consolation was that the class focusedprimarily on CNN’#146;s reporting.
    From all I had gathered through my childhood and on, CNN was the head of thenews world. It was both well known and powerful and a great resource for truthabout the world. With this in mind, I began the weekly lesson of critiquingCNN’#146;s show Talk Back Live.

    Our instructor weaved us through class by forcing us to question every aspectof the show: did the newscaster report well, was the topic a well-addressedone, and did the show catch the audience’#146;s attention? Most importantly,did the media inform honestly or did it seek to embellish the truth?

    The more I learned how to analyze CNN’#146;s show, the more I realized how muchwas lacking in the show’#146;s production. Information was constantly doledout to us and repeated over and over. The guests of the shows, supposed expertsof the subject at hand, were often unsure of their own statements and lackedthe confidence expected of informants. I found my own attention wandering asI stared at the multitude of images flashing on the screen, many of which hadnothing to do with the topic.

    Most irritating of all was the persistent label of ‘live’ constantlyon the screen. Granted the show was meant to be live, but when random imageswere being displayed (obviously, not live), such a label was meaningless. Whilesuch a thing is trivial when reporting about shark attacks, it becomes a matterof concern with the coverage of the war in Afghanistan.

    So what did I walk away with? One would not expect me to be any less a cynicthan the start of this article, but my perspective of the media has drasticallychanged. For one, I have fallen into the six o’#146;clock routine as well, butwith more professional news castings, such as BBC and World News Tonight. Theirprofessionalism isn’#146;t based on any universal judgment as I had previouslygained of CNN, but solely on my own evaluation of the networks.

    My critique of CNN was not meant to be its eternal damnation. It is meant toshow that one can’#146;t rely on the general opinion of what the ‘best’news channel is or isn’#146;t. I now find myself watching the news, not so muchfor the broadcasts themselves, but to be aware that when the real news doescome on, at least I’#146;ll know which networks to rely on.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *