We are on your side


We have received this feedback on Larry Michie’s observations on the state of TV broadcasting in the US

Just read Larry Michie’s piece on Simesite. Very well done as usual. I think what Larry is getting at here is the complete trivialization of tv news carried on local o&os and indie stations. That is certainly true on the local Tucson (Arizona) tv stations. Unwatchable, although they do provide handy updates on local traffic conditions and weather (a big concern here).

Larry is obviously looking for hard national and international news in exactly the wrong place – on the local news segments. His observations are sharp and accurate especially about the female-male anchor duos that have been obligatory on ALL news stations for some time.

But, I wonder. Were the local newscasts on the network-owned stations and key indies all that good in years past? The phenomenon of “happy talk” – a phrase, incidentally, that former Chicago office tv reporter Morry Roth steadfastly claimed HE invented — is at least a generation old. Were the local newscasts 30 or 40 years ago all that great? Just asking.

Today, I am repeatedly told by one local Tucson station – KGUN (we love our firearms down here) News, an ABC afil — that “we are on YOUR side.” No idea what that actually means. Should I, the viewer, be re-assured? Since a good friend, Jim Ferguson, KGUN’s very able entertainment reporter, is a Spring Training baseball buddy, I shall refrain from knocking this august station any further.

But overall, it pretty much fits the bill of what Larry found in chilly Boston. I don’t believe Larry’s sage comments were directed necessarily only at Fox News. First, Larry was writing about LOCAL tv news outlets. Secondly, although Fox is second to no one in sensationalizing questionable “news” stories, it also boasts of some straight news and talk shows that (gadzooks) even Democrats like.

The best news hour in my book is (with the occasional exception of dutiful and dull Jim Lehrer on Public Television) is Fox’s “Special Report” with Brit Hume. It’s a lively and informative hour of Washington news in all its inherently bizarre forms, and boasts of lively discussion and analysis. The liberal bloggers may hate it but sane newshounds of all political stripes are well served.

Of course, “Special Report” is on cable. So is C-Span a must for political junkies. Interestingly, both “Special Report” on Fox and C-Span in all its many forms are largely non-ideological, and serve viewers well.

You notice that I have not mentioned network news. The form is dead in my view and not worth serious discussion. Harsh but true, I’m afraid.