Watching the Major Media Meltdown

I’ll confess to always having had a bit of cynicism about the professional national media orgs; this dating from my several turns in military public affairs and being one of those in-house media entertainment/news providers for the military broadcasting system. From the latter experience, I learned just how the sausage-news is created, expeditiously and on-schedule for the daily-dish-up. The former served up endless stories of media personalities acting badly from peers who had been there when they happened; checkbook offers for tips, tantrums on the flight-line as the media flight was about to depart, disgustingly snobbish behavior towards military media-relations staff … yep, darned few modern-day embedded reporters earned anything like the affection and respect earned by Ernie Pyle during WWII. Those who flew in to cover Gulf War I did not manage to conceal a tone of gratification and happy surprise in their coverage upon observing that the troops in that war were neat, polite, professional; the very farthest from the bunch of murderous, drug-addled psychotics which the aftermath of the Vietnam War had obviously led them to expect. And yes, we all noticed this at the time.
(Pro tip when it comes to producing local news? The calendar is your friend. A good half of your stories are ruled by the predictable. A significant or insignificant holiday – a story or two or three predicated on that holiday. The bigger the holiday, the more stories which can be milked out of it. Significant local event – a scheduled road closure, or a grand opening? Oh, yeah – another couple of stories to fill the required minutes in the regular broadcast. Even something semi-scheduled, like a rain/hurricane season? At least a story or two about preparations… And so it goes.)
Back to my main point – mainstream national news media: I presume that someone still watches CNN.

Although the last time I went down to the troop clinic at Fort Sam and to the new Wilford Hall establishment, the station on the TV screens in waiting areas seemed to be tuned to the Home and Garden channel. The predilection of CNN personalities for madly, deeply, irrationally anti-Trump materiel is a wonder to behold. If this report in the Spectator is anything to go by, CNN is paying the same price that the Dixie Chicks did, when making their appeal more selective. And so it may be going with other establishment news outlets, the alphabet news networks, which once bestrode the earth like giants in their day. The death spiral of weekly news magazines like Time and Newsweek is well-established. Other people – interested bloggers seem to be doing the heavy lifting these days, as well as outlier publications like this one, with an examination of the steamy romance novels written by a candidate for the office of Georgia governor. (Well, it’s an honest living, scribbling for a living, and a nice change from being a lawyer, I guess). As for newspapers; my local newspaper (which subscription I finally cancelled altogether after a particularly offensive editorial cartoon a decade ago) is now shrunken almost to the size of the old Stars and Stripes military newspaper – which was the size of a small-circulation tabloid when I knew it best, and usually featured reiterated AP/UPI content anyway, leavened with a few stories of specific military interest generated by their own staff.

Are the national broadcast networks and the internet spawn they do possess now in the same death spiral, having gone all out for material which they apparently see as damaging to Trump? I know that there still are people who believe what they see on the evening news, and disdain as irrelevant anything that the major national news outlets prefer to ignore. For myself – if it’s in screaming headlines, I’ll assume that they are at least 75% wrong. Discuss, as you will, and with examples.

(PS – speaking of scribbling for a living, the seventh Luna City Chronicle – Luna City Lucky Seven is now available on Kindle! The print version just now appeared, too! I can truthfully promise that there is nothing like the explicit sexual content in Stacey Abrams’ oeuvre … but then, I am not running for political office.)

15 thoughts on “Watching the Major Media Meltdown”

  1. Interesting. Earlier this year I went for an MRI at a facility in Austin; the waiting room TV was also on HGTV. I didn’t think much of it, but now that you mention it……..

  2. Sgt Mom: I just finished Air Force Daze. Wonderful. I remember you from Sgt Stryker which was on my short list of blogs to read weekly or more frequently.

  3. I did a five year gig at Idaho National Laboratory a couple of years ago, and the big screen TV in the lobby where I worked was invariably tuned to Fox, reflecting the highly red state attitudes of the locals. Or it was, that is, until the inevitable local SJW’s protested and demanded equal time for CNN. In the end, all the news feeds were shut off, and replaced by endless repetition of INL produced content.

    At least we still have a lot more genuine “freedom of the press” in the US than in countries like France, Germany, and the UK. We have big, influential conservative bloggers and websites, conservative talk show hosts with big audiences, Fox (I know, getting a bit wobbly, but still better than the alternatives) and even some blandly conservative newspapers. I follow the situation in Germany, and they have nothing of the sort. Everywhere you look or listen, with the exception of a few small bloggers and papers, you find the same, vanilla leftist pablum. Stories about the US repeat what you see on CNN or MSNBC almost word for word. Merkel’s disastrous immigration policy is praised everywhere as a paragon of morality. Under the circumstances it’s amazing that there are so many Germans who don’t believe a word of it, and vote for the Alternative für Deutschland party, which is calling for a more rational immigration policy, in spite of the fact that it is invariably vilified as “neo-Nazi” and “extreme right wing” in the media. We all know the Schtick.

  4. Someone I know considers herself well-versed in current affairs for watching Lester Holt and reading Time.

    I have been reposting Lex’s posts (will probably have 2,300-2,500 when I am done in a few weeks) and one of his posts , well not the only one, but I remember he was incredulous when a NYT reporter referred to a KC-135 as a “special plane”. He was reporting on a mission and said that they were “refueled by “special planes””.

    I’m sure you have some first hand stories by civilian reporters who talked to the military – and what they reported.

    We do have/had an Ernie Pyle or 2 – such as the man who made Restrepo – but most of those bozos – if they were in Iraq at all – never left the Green Zone.

    BTW I have heard that CNN pays the airports to show their drivel.

    That’s my idea of purgatory; waiting in the “waiting room” with CNN 24 hours/day.

  5. Regarding CNN at airports, one positive thing I saw last time I was flying; while the TVs in the general areas were all on CNN, several of the bars and restaurants had theirs on OAN.

  6. Thanks, Pst314 – glad you enjoyed! If you are so inclined, can you leave a review?

    Helian, at least we do have independent bloggers doing their bit: I’ve lost track of how many issues I first heard about through blogs and links like Insty, for weeks and even years before the mainstream media discovered them. And in some cases, they were actively trying to squelch coverage of issues! As in Iowahawk’s deathless phrase – “Covering the news: With a pillow, until they stop moving.”

    I have heard over the years that CNN has some kind of sweetheart deal with airport management; that’s the reason the television screens in the airport terminals are all tuned to CNN. I was tickled no end, though – when the military hospital waiting room TVs all switched over to Home and Garden, from CNN. Trump is, after all, the C-in-C. Bad form to have the waiting area TVs constantly bashing him.

  7. Is anyone watching CNN? There is a world of difference between the box being on and any human being paying attention.

    Simple test, the next time you pass through an airport, estimate the percentage of people watching CNN.

    All the many video screens will be playing CNN; as Bill Brandt notes, CNN pays for the audience. But the audience is not paying any attention. Even when people are stuck in an airport with nothing to do, they sit with their backs to the video screens, or stick their nose in a smart phone or a magazine. Hardly anyone watches the screens! From my observations, only about 1% of the captive audience are watching CNN.

    This is even more remarkable when we consider that about half the travelers in the airport are likely to be Democrat supporters. It seems that even CNN’s target audience has had enough of them.

  8. I get all my news online. I only watch TV for football, college version. My wife loves baseball, too. She goes into a mild depression for a while when football season ends until baseball starts up again.

    We do watch the Murder Channel, as I call it, Discovery ID and I learned my sister in Chicago also watches it.

    The hosts are mostly older TV anchor women who faded from prime time years ago. One if Paul Zahn who I vaguely remember from the days when I did watch TV. I have read that she makes more from Murder TV than she did from prime time.

    Maybe Megan Kelly will end up there.

    A couple of blogs that I was a reliable reader of got TDS after the 2016 election. Patterico was the worst.

    There are quite number that are good sources.

    Rush Limbaugh is still good and Michael Medved and Mark Levin have gotten over their cases of TDS.

  9. I’m getting a great deal of enjoyment from all the main news outlets. Morning Joe is so reliably moronic, I’m guaranteed a chuckle. Brian “beauty of our weapons’ Williams just cracks e up with his twisted face carefully angled for the camera. It just keeps on giving. ;)

    Its just fun for me. I do have great sympathy for those stuck in this clown show though.

  10. I was enjoying the articles Michael Kelly wrote from Iraq up until his unfortunate death in a vehicle accident during the March Up.

  11. Absent context and perspective, brute facts mean nothing. (“S&P 500 Spiders [SPY] closed today at 274.79.” So what?) Alas for objectivity, this raises inescapable –“epistemological”– Editorial Questions: What do we choose to observe, and what weight do we give it; how do we know, and what does self-awareness teach?

    Wise learning, education, is “What’s left when all else fails.” Any fool can talk sense… either one learns to make sense of nonsense, or the next step you take will be your last.

    Meantime, beware mistaking the Singer for the Song. What counts is not one’s peculiar tincture, or what’s between your legs, but what’s between your ears and in your heart.

  12. As far as bloggers go, NeoNeocon is still going. She remains one of my goto sites, like CB. And yes, Patterico lost my attention due to Trumpophobia… Sad. I wasn’t a big fan of him pre-election, mostly because I thought he was a full bore RINO. I have been impressed ever since that election at how much of an effort to follow through on his campaign promises he’s been. I don’t think even Reagan was that direct.

    I will note that the UK papers are all biased, but at least they are honest about their biases, and everyone else knows what slant they are using. Not like American “Centrist” sources like (snort snort guffaw) CNN and MSNBC.

  13. Patrick Frey and I were both fans of and friends of Cathy Seipp who had an excellent blog. Her commenters several times went out to lunch together, at least those in LA. Patrick did not attend one of those lunches but there were 8 or 10 of us who did.

    His blog originally was quite useful as he focused on rebutting falsehoods in the LA Times.

    Then he got onto the topic of that fellow who had accused Dan Quayle of having bought drugs. That guy was in prison at the time for having set off a bomb as a terrorist act, His name was Brett Kimberlin, and he had become “an activist” of some sort. Anyway, after Patrick got interested in him, the Freys got “Swatted.” That was a fake 911 call. I’m not sure if it was ever proven it was Kimberlin but Patrick got very self righteous after that.

    The Trump derangement seems to follow and I wonder if it is related?

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