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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


You tell 'em, Al!

I am one of those old school people who likes my news either in print or on tv. I don't like reading about news on the internet. There are some exceptions to this - if somethin has just happened, or there are extremely recent updates, then I will read about them on the internet - but otherwise, I prefer the news or the newspaper.

That said, I am really annoyed by the news. As much as I love Charlie Gibson (and like that his is calling himself Charlie again), and find him soothing, calming, and smart - I am annoyed by his news show. I feel like I get 5 minutes of news, and the rest is human interest stories. I am not a fan of human interest stories - and even if I were, I'd still prefer news during that measly half hour of world news.

People make fun of those who get their news from the Daily Show - but I seriously feel like I learn more about what is going on in the world from Jon Stewart than from "real" news sources. And I have to say, I sincerely doubt it is any more biased.

A few days ago, two cameramen (I think) from ABC news were killed in Iraq. One of the reporters from Iraq was eulogizing them and lamenting that they were key to ABC's ability to really show what is going on in Iraq as the two men could get into areas that were too dangerous for white reporters - they were crucial in getting real footage of what is really going on there.

I heard this and at first felt sad for the loss - and then I thought, "Where the hell is all of this real coverage of the war?" I mean, you never see that on broadcast news! I don't feel as though, on non-cable networks (and given that I don't have cable, that is my source of non-Daily Show news), I ever see what is really going on in Iraq.

Al Gore was on Good Morning America this morning talking about the complacency that results from oversaturation by the media - the media makes us passive observers of the world. He then noted that it seemed to him that the news seemed to be more about entertainment than about news* - and insofar as it relates to the morning "news" shows like GMA and the Today show, I think he is absolutely right - and sadly, I think this is also becoming true of the world news in the evening.

And I totally agree that this is leading to complacency. Mad Melancholic Feminista had a post recently about Hal Prince's commencement speech in which he noted that blogging has been taking the place of true activism. She thinks he may have been confused as to what blogging is - and may have confused it with texting. But I think the gist is right - we aren't being activists, but I think this is the faulty of the disneyfication of the news - it is so concerned about ratings and making people entertained and happy, we don't get news. I think if we truly saw footage of what is going on in Iraq, we would feel compelled to do more.

I think it is only because of bloggers and other on-line sources that we are as pissed off about the war and Bush as we are.

* He then tried to push Diane Sawyer to comment about that, but she wouldn't - she jsut said, "That's something really important that many journalists wrestle with." It concerns me that Diane Sawyer is so worried about ratings and security that she cannot engage in self-reflexive commentary about the role of the news in social change.


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