Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Action Snooze | As part of its never-ending quest to avoid presenting even a nanosecond of anything that might qualify as real news, broadcast journalism slipped to a new low last night. WPVI-TV's Action News -- the region's top-rated show, mind you -- devoted a chunk of its already miniscule news hole to ... a house fire in Kensington? ... one of its weatherclowns emceeing a local Cub Scout pack's awards ceremony? ... the health reporter's hangnail operation?

If only it were so newsworthy.

No, Action News demonstrated its commitment to informing its viewers by airing bloopers. Of its own prior newscasts. On the flagship 11 p.m. show.

Every time I think TV can't get any more stupid or irrelevant, I am, sadly, proven disastrously wrong. If ours were a literate and savvy population cognizant of current affairs, I'd laugh it off as harmless. But so many people think that those 23 minutes of blow-dried, airheaded, cliche-ridden crap is all they need to know, it frustrates the hell out of me.

Now, the missus is a big fan of bloopers shows, and if it's Ray Romano blowing a punchline or Gene Rayburn dropping an inadvertant sexual innuendo into his banter with an attractive female contestant, well, hey, have a blast. But the 11 o'clock freakin' news?

I understand that these stations exist to make money. Fine. Let's just be honest with each other and not call what the locals air at 11 o'clock "news." Unless, of course, you really needed to know about that fire in Kensington.


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