Watching the News

One of the pleasures of watching a televised newscast is as a viewer, we are able to design a personal ‘takeaway’, set a progress course of understanding, the reported story, with the proliferation of on-screen banners, that has been dimmed, been empowered to program producers and banner writers. I liken it to watching a murder mystery movie, a banner appearing, urging that from now on, you closely watch the butler, kinda like ‘letting the cat out of the bag’, ruining the mystery, carelessly forecasting the course, the end of the story before its time. In short on-screen banners have no value, are a distraction, an annoyance, irritating the brain nerves, setting them into worthlessness, depriving them of a meaningful workout of a developing happing now news story, and I do hate to write it, ‘breaking news’…


Several cable news outlets, in addition to their regular telecasts are offering a podcast of some of their programing, which is an admission that their annoying on-screen subject descriptive viewer guide banners, are not a requirement to fully engage and enjoy their product. Audio only, podcasts can offer some much-needed relief from program hosts and guests, the over fifty or sixty years of age, in youthful hair dyes, the bald-headed females in wigs, and most of all, news crawls. A podcast can mean that one is no longer tethered to a viewing screen, can move about at will, taking the audio information with one on the go, just like an old invention, radio. And as of this week alone, who has had just about enough of those big red ‘breaking news’ banners, forgive me as I pause to raise both my hands and feet in celebration of its absence. Unless there is something on the cable news broadcast screen that is a, ‘must see’, a podcast may be just the ticket to subscribe to the news and keep one’s sanity and manage to do other physical things at the same time.

Guide Us No More

Viewer annoyances is being heightened with network over bearing viewer guide banners at the bottom of the screen of every news program, as if needed to understand what is being reported, note to all program producers, televison news is no longer in its infancy, help us and yourselves to grow up, return our news programs to the joy of a nice uncluttered clean screen, there is so much unnecessary crap on the screen, making watching the news a chore instead of the pleasure it once was. Not yet convinced, picture watching a movie with a viewer guide at the bottom of the screen, if you could, you would be writing just such a blog as this yourself, demanding some satisfaction and relief from overzealous descriptive news writers too, whose aim is to spread confusion and vexation of the reported news story and stories…


MSNBC’s PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton, since its inception has always warranted some critique from this blogger, has been avoided, until this Sunday, 07/15/2018, however, I will limit myself to just the A-block of this episode, the annoyances of the entire presentation being just too numerous. There were 16 images of Trump, 12 images of Putin, supreme court nominee Kavanaugh, 15, many in repetition rotation, when one or two stills of each would have been more than adequate, then there were the two irritating on-screen banners, ‘Should Trump Cancel Putin Meeting?’ and ‘Supreme Threat’. Anytime a dye head female blond televison analyst, which is often, appears has always been an insult to my senses, seemingly supposedly added to provide some sort of appearance pleasantry, but the height of insult is what was added to this program, a wigged female activist for the same reason mentioned above. For the record, according to MSNBC’s on-screen clock, it took all of 8:12 minutes to permanently annoy me, leaving me with assurances that the program producers will try to do even worse next week.

The Chicken Suit

On 07/12/2018, an untold number of Americans watched about 15 hours of live or taped segments of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee hearings, who’s members, fifty or sixty or older in years, and the broadcast journalists covering those proceedings, appeared in excessive amount of hair dye, some tinted blond, or in wigs, all seeking credibility, while appearing in what I liken to, the ‘chicken suit.’

We are electing more leaders that employ hair dye, watch televison journalists in fake hair…hence, the descriptive term, ‘chicken suit’. Politicians prepare their appearance as an aid to be elected, television journalists prepare themselves as an aid to be watched…all in some sort of, ‘chicken suit’. Americans love to central cast both politicians and journalists, with merit, playing only a slight pivotal amount of importance. In conclusion, to be elected, watched on televison, look the perceived part, that can be a very hard given for some, a ‘must’, for others…can be achieved minimally in employment of some sort of… wait for it, a ‘chicken suit’.

Breaking News, Nevertheless

“Film at eleven”, is a phrase that had its run until it was overtaken by technology. In the early days of broadcast news, the 6 o’clock anchor would tease viewers with a detailed description of a story with the promise of recorded images at the 11 o’clock newscast. The shipped in film to the studio had to be processed, edited for broadcast, made available by 11p. Today, technology in news broadcasting took a drastic and annoying turn for the worse, in about 10 hours of live broadcasting in what will be called the “Strzok Hearings”, followed by additional hours of playback and annualization of testimony by all the cable news outlets during regular programing, the red banner of “breaking news” could not be avoided, even if one tried. How long is the cycle of a breaking news story, after a while it can’t still be breaking news, at some point it has to die of old age news, no? turning suddenly into a report of current history. We shall see tomorrow, if any new developments of today’s hearings warrant the now old and annoying breaking news banner, at least for this story of the Strzok Hearings… Oh wait, there may yet be hope, when a gray head of hair, on both male and female anchors, is as common as the breaking news banner…I’m waiting?  

Is Vanity Killing Television Journalism?

It was while sitting on a park bench when a bus rolled by, on its side in what looked like a promo for a televison soap opera, because of the show businessy type picture of the cast, looked like that all too picture perfect, as in what one would expect an advertising marketing manager would stage, displaying people in what can only be called faked, theatrical, artificial appearance in a narcissistic posed setting. As I would later learn, it was not for a new soap opera, but the new news team of a upcoming locally produced televison news program. So, this is what a televison news team looks like in the twenty-first century? Gone are the gray hairs of wisdom earned in the trenches doing everyday battles with journalistic integrity, that cannot be painted on in a Hollywood type make-up chair, under streaking hair dye and synthetics.

The appearance of the female panelists on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, are deemed so important, they are provided with water straws so as not to smudge their greasy red lips if they should thirst while on the air.

Images of most U.S. Presidents, except those wigged or hair dyed, like, Reagan and current, are pictured in reality with some gray hair, so, when it came to the wardrobe, of a U.S. President for the televison show, Designated Survivor, why gray hair was not considered, unless current cultural hair trends took precedence, speaking for myself, that oversight, hindered character believability.

Not to single them out, but only to point to CBS This Morning as an illustration of most television news programs, that employ all or some of the grand tools of image fakery, hair dye and synthetics, and then dare to refer to themselves as true journalists, in the annals of journalism, deceit has never been one of them. If without the hair dye or synthetics, this news program will still be able to attract viewers, I don’t know, at least, their appearance will be an honest one, letting the chips fall where they may, on the grounds of journalistic actuality and integrity and not on some Hollywood image of what a televison journalist should look like, journalistic ability being set aside in favor of some perceived pleasing appearance that is easy on the eyes is what television journalists have become.