The Big Sleep, a.k.a Network News Programs

I have more or less stopped watching cable “news,” which of course doesn’t exist; it is cable commentary, a parade of hacks and shills, pundits and punks, losers and lemmings.   FOX is the worst, a loud, obnoxious gang of GOP cheer-leaders on drugs.  MSNBC is only a little better, as there may occasionally be facts to be found, but otherwise: meh.  CNN seems dedicated to getting the story wrong, no better what: an intriguing post-modern approach, I have to say.   It doesn’t really matter.  Only die-hards watch that cable-crap, and we’re talking about only a million viewers or so per channel.

Network “news” (again, it’s not journalism) attracts more viewers, and I made the mistake of pausing at “Meet the Press” (NBC) for one “story” on Sunday before I landed on football.  But the story concerned football, specifically whether the Washington Redskins franchise in the NFL should consider changing the name.  In case you hadn’t noticed, “Redskin” is a horrific racist epithet.  Do you disagree?

But here is how the “story” went: The Meet the Press anchor (an attractive young woman) said that there is some pressure on the Washington ball club to change the name because “some Native Americans are offended by it.”  So that was idiotic mistake number one.  Apparently she and her producers couldn’t imagine a world in which others besides some Native Americans might think the name was stupid and offensive.

Next, of course, she “tossed” the story to a “reporter,” also an attractive young woman in full TV makeup who introduced clips from “person on the street” interviews.  Guess what? One person said the club should change the name. Another person said it shouldn’t! Wow! So fucking unbelievably parallel!

Then there was a not-in-depth interview with a member of a tribe.  He was for the name-change.  Then there was a not-in-depth interview with a former Redskins player.  He was against the name-change.  He said he had been proud to represent the burgundy and gold (the colors of the “Redskins).

Finally came a bit of chit-chat between the two women.  End of story.

I ask you, what is the fucking point of such a “story”?  Why not just show pictures of rabbits and play a nice sound-track?  Oh, I forgot, the “reporter” also mentioned that other teams had names like the Braves, the Indians, and the Chiefs.  Well, fantastic.  Did she also add that we are talking about two categories? No. That might require a fourth-grade-level presentation.  Indians is an acceptable description of Native Americans.  Chiefs are Chiefs, a category of leadership, as is “Braves.”  “Redskins” belongs to a different category: grotesque epithets.

Look, I know the two women are just trying to their jobs, which entail looking pretty, smiling, wearing makeup, being cheery, and delivering a formulaic video, with a few seconds of “live” banter. It’s not their fault.

At the same time, I must ask, what is worse?  The barbiturate, coma-inducing “news story” produced by an allegedly professional, responsible, and major network, or some horrific piece of Vaudeville form some cable-clown?  I don’t know the answer.  All I know is that no one should be ingesting either, and there’s not much that’s an alternative.

Look, with any luck, we may be in the end-times. Otherwise, things are grim.


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