All Points: Gravitating toward the ‘off’ button

Posted Monday, Jul. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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More information All Points each Monday features reader responses to a question posed by the Editorial Board. With each week’s responses comes the next week’s question. All Points responses are not counted toward the monthly limit of one letter to the editor from each writer. Readers are welcome to send their own ideas for All Points topics to Editorial Director Mike Norman, mnorman@star-telegram.com.

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More than usual, the 24-hour cable TV news channels are being criticized for focusing too much on trivia and the sensational. Do you agree? Is that what you expect from the news media, or would you rather see a different kind of coverage?

Tabloid TV

Twenty-four-hour cable news is the TV version of the worst kind of tabloid journalism.

It plays on emotions and viewers’ idle curiosity. Most of the supposed reporting is speculation. A few minutes are devoted to what happened, and then hours are spent filling in the gaps in what is known with the speculation of alleged experts and guesses as to what the ramifications of the event might be.

They never issue a correction when they’re wrong. And the repetition is nauseating. Their editorial policy seems to be: Get the scoop and fact-check later.

I may be old-fashioned, but I have more trust in print news.

— Jack D’Amario, Granbury

The “off” button

Disgusted with cable TV’s alleged “news”? Fed up with the silly, shrilly approach? The screaming, yelling and hollering? The rude, arrogant raving and shouting at — and over — each other in incessant, bullying, smashmouth attempts at one-upmanship?

I’d much rather get my news by town crier in elaborate dress. At least I would be amused.

Solution: The “off” button.

Instead of cable news, stay informed by quietly reading meaningful news stories.

Online, read the Texas Tribune and its solid coverage of state government and politics and other major topics applicable to citizens throughout Texas. Special bonus: A revealing listing of the runaway, out-of-control salaries of hundreds of thousands of government bureaucrats.

— Roger Summers, Arlington

Disgustingly negative

The news media of old consisted of handbills and newspapers that instigated intense interest in primarily local news.

The news of today being reported by all news media, including cable TV, is disgustingly negative. Some is very irritating, particularly when news teams are sent to a site and continuous updates are reported.

Some people are indeed interested in trivia, but those who have more interesting lives are not. Even the weather reporters seem to beat their news to death — providing much more information than is needed or wanted.

Sensational news is sensational, but after the third or fourth update, it gets boring.

Personally, I try to watch only one daily news report on TV and switch to another channel when the continuous updates begin. It would be most refreshing if the media emphasized “good news” for a change.

— Grady Fuller, Kennedale

Political agendas

Majoring on the minor is a powerful distraction when trying to avoid exposing unpleasant realities that might thwart a particular political agenda.

Through the use of selective fact-harvesting, word inflection, unsupported opinion, misleading headlines/lead-ins and even the order of coverage, all forms of news reporting are able to promote political agendas.

As a result of sidestepping the uncomfortable task of exposing all facts, the media are now able to create and end political careers, arbitrarily manipulate public opinion and fuel the fires of racial unrest.

What originated as a helpful form of delivering information to the masses has evolved into nothing more than a catastrophic exploitation of the public’s trust. Individual thought and reflection must never be surrendered to something so impure as the news media.

— Vicki Tidwell, Burleson

Liberal lapdog

Network news, both local and national, is the lap dog of the liberal left. I haven’t watched network news in at least five years.

Cable news isn’t much better, but there is a choice in that there is Fox News. Fox comes closer than any of them to telling both sides, but it is certainly biased toward the right.

However, it is my main source of television news. Most of the reliable news is still from the print media, and some of the Internet news sources.

I don’t understand why news outlets can’t just report what happened without giving it their particular slant.

— David Stetson, Azle

No real news

Most news media outlets make no attempt to report real news.

They are staffed with reporters who think they are the smartest people on the planet and give their own opinions on every trivial event and ignore the important stories affecting this country.

— Clista Hancock, Arlington

Constant drama

The “All Points” question (“Is that what you expect from the news media?”) is self-explanatory.

First, cable service is paid for by subscribers. For many, life is surreal and dominated by a constant drama show. The media oblige and feed into that.

The lifeline for many is to satisfy their hunger for sensational news, be it good, bad or ugly. Sponsors and advertisers depend on these viewers.

The alternative, of course, is to change the cable channels, go to broadcast TV or just simply shut it off.

— April Rogers, Fort Worth

Real news, please

Real-world news is getting very difficult to find.

The royal baby watch, every second of sensational trials on all of the news channels and weekend box-office results seem to overshadow coverage of major events around the world. News channels are morphing into a combination of Entertainment Tonight, America’s Funniest Videos and the Fashion Network.

When traveling abroad, you see news coverage of major events that could change our world.

But upon returning home, you find that no one is even slightly aware of these happenings. When left to your own devices, surfing the Internet for news, you never know what is credible and what is twisted propaganda.

We should have at least one reliable news source that reports the essence of important news from around the world, that is not filtered to appease advertisers or aimed at specific target groups. Real news, reported truthfully.

— Gregory Beck, Fort Worth

CNN or MTV?

I stopped taking cable news seriously when I heard a news commentator describe the lyrics of a music video as “kind of rape-y.”

I looked up to see who had changed the channel to MTV. It was on CNN.

— Morgan Landry, Benbrook

More accuracy!

More concern about about being accurate than being first!

— George J. Anthony, Fort Worth

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