A Reporter's Notebook
Your inside scoop to the South Florida Jewish community

Telling it like it is

As a longtime journalist and avid ‘news junkie,’ I waited with anxious anticipation for the premier of HBO’s new series, “Newsroom,” which airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m.

After three installments, I can’t say I’m disappointed. Time will tell if I remain a fan.

The premise revolves around a popular cable TV news show that is committed to doing something new – something that has become as rare as a TV roof antenna – present an honest-to-goodness, non-agenda or politically biased news report.

Wow! Today that’s almost an oxy-moron.

While I can personally testify that journalists, at least the many journalists I have known, have always had a ‘liberal’ bent, their individual convictions didn’t color the way they presented the news – at least, not deliberately or so obviously.

Back then, we usually had the typical news director who kept us honest … a two-fisted drinker who chained smoked and didn’t put up with any bull…t!

But today it’s a different ‘newsroom.’ For openers, female newscasters overwhelmingly come in various shades of blonde, have high-pitched, squeaky voices, show lots of skin, and wear tight bright outfits that were once prevalent on the dark streets of 8th Avenue.

The usual male newscaster – an ‘8 by 10 glossy’ with perfect teeth and coiffed hair – isn’t much different.

I have my doubts Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite or Huntley and Brinkley would get a job today.

But the plastic appearance of most newscasters is a minor point compared to the plastic news content of the typical news show. First you get three minutes of news (if you’re lucky), then four minutes of commercials, followed by a quartet of talking head “panelists” who drown out each other with shouting till you have no idea what they’re saying. I give up!

“I’m mad as hell – and I’m not going to take it anymore,” to shamelessly quote a famous fictional newsman. And thanks, to the growing demise of newspapers, I now get my news online.

Here’s hoping HBO’s “Newsroom” will bring back a yearning for a once- proud, American institution that couldn’t be topped.

One Response to “Telling it like it is”

  1. Jay from Wellington says:

    The problem with the news is the problem of America…money over all. Over relevance. Over importance. Even over truth.

    Today’s media is largely corporate owned with Wall Street demanding increasing profits every quarter. Profits come from advertising and that comes from ratings. And those, in turn, come from Casey Anthony, the newest diet craze, and even a cat in a tree, and emphatically not from that boring stuff from Syria, China, or the Congressional Budget Office.

    Among major cable news nets, only CNN has tried to hang on to a semblance of hard news, and they’re in the dumpster, ratings wise. And that’s among supposed news junkies. Forget network viewers. They’re too busy immersing themselves in American Idol and The Biggest Loser.

    But the biggest loser is us, wondering how we got into this mess, suffering its consequences, yet not interested enough to want to find out. And all too willing to act out our frustration in the voting booth, in a spasm of emotion driven by whichever lying political ads make us the maddest.

    Ain’t no way to run a country. But we’ll never realize that. Because there’s almost nobody willing to forgo their bonuses by being willing to tell us.

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