tv news

Whether it be the evening TV news, the midday news, or the morning news there are three features with which I am increasingly frustrated.

It is copy-cat
Whenever I travelled to Australia I would smile at how much they copied the Americans. From extending news broadcasts beyond the evening hour ... to single news readers becoming male:female combinations ... to a fascination with weather reports from quirky eccentrics ... to the actual template of the broadcast - on and on it goes. Then a few years later we find New Zealand slavishly copying Australia. [One of the few distinctions I can identify is that the Aussies and the Americans like their male readers to be older in order to convey greater authority and gravitas].

It is casual
When so much of the news is bad news, even tragic news, I find the casual chit-chat between the presenters to be annoying. Light levity. Vacuuous commentary. Not only does this medium then clash with the message, it trumps the message. The serious sadness of human tragedy gets washed away in wasted and inane words. In recent weeks and months I have watched with alarm as the BBC and CNN have started selling-out to this approach.

It is 'celebritous'
One of the great mysteries of popular culture is just how it is that people who read the news off a tele-prompter can be paid so much money and gain so many headlines. The heroic becomes eclipsed by the celebritous. It is dragging us down. What is the relative time given by people today to the reading of a biography of a hero versus viewing the story of a celebrity? We are far more interested in the flaws of the latter than the character of the former ... and it shows.

As a follower of Jesus I want to affirm the way creativity is more important than copy-catting, being serious is more important than being casual, and following heroes is more important than watching celebrities.

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