1. unclefrogy says

    that clip makes it very clear that most of network news is not about helping to provide information of any particular use. in support of a democratic society.
    it is clearly about delivering eyeballs to advertisers,

    uncle frogy

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Philo T. Farnsworth (the inventor of electronic television) was on What’s My Line once. After his identity was revealed, he was asked, “Are you sorry you did it?” to which he replied, “Often, yes”.

  3. pocketnerd says

    This just shows how amateurish the government’s spin control has been when it comes to wiretapping and surveillance. All they really need is a single Missing White Girl, and the news will hardly talk about anything else for months.

  4. mjmiller says

    I cant…I mean I just…I.. what? Words fail. “let me hold up this NSA silliness for some real news”? AAAAUUUUUGGGGHHH!

  5. says

    I do not watch news any longer partially because of things like this. CBC Newsworld is not this bad, I do not think they would cut away for that, but television news is not very information dense and one cannot choose which stories to care about. I know precious little about stars and their lives except what I read in the headlines when scanning various news sites.

  6. khms says

    It’s not quite that bad over here, but still, I’ve remarked that in 5 minutes of radio news, there’s more information than in 15 minutes of TV news.

    A picture might be worth more than a thousand words, but obviously not a moving one.

  7. says

    Yeah, Canadian news can be pretty bad. I regularly watch Global’s supper hour newscast, and their story selection and positioning often annoys. They’ll do things like put Justin Bieber’s jackassery way too near the start of the newscast, or waste time on gushing about whatever the hell the royals are up to.

  8. ethicsgradient says

    I remember a similar instance on the BBC News channel back in 2010, that convinced me 24 hour news is useless. In the middle of showing a taped report about a serious subject – something like the underachievement at school of children in foster homes, though I’m not sure – they said “and we interrupt that to go live to South Africa, for” … “the arrival of the World Cup England football team at their new hotel”. Sure enough, they showed us a succession of men getting off a bus, and walking into a hotel. No interviews, no “we can see the centre half is limping”; just a fully expected arrival of the team in the town they would play their next match in, with very fit athletes successfully walking 10 yards.

    There followed 5 minutes of filling by the anchor, who seemed to have been asked to comment on a non-event in a subject he wasn’t expert in, and it looked liked he was rather embarrassed to have to do it, with endless waffling about ‘expectation’ and other non-news speculation about the match to be played in a couple of days’ time. Then it was the top of the hour, so the news ‘cycle’ started again. I left it on in the background; they never returned to the serious report. It was probably never broadcast again.

    I wrote to complain; they wrote back saying “lots of people are very excited by the World Cup, so that justifies our coverage”.

  9. kestrel says


    (also, what, no charges for that hair-do?)

    I think that’s a “don’t”. :)

  10. kreativekaos says

    (Clapping slowly…) Exactly, PZ, exactly. Disgraceful.
    (And I SO wanted my son to major in the sciences or engineering instead of…journalism. I have failed as a parent.)

  11. richenry says

    You can’t claim sole ownership of rubbish media. Over the last few months we’ve had serious news reports interrupted by breaking news on Nelson Mandela’s funeral preparations and the condition of Michael Schumacher’s head.

  12. richenry says

    Oh, and that’s before we begin on the non-stop “breaking news” interruptions to cover the Windsor family over the last few years.
    (Sorry for double post)

  13. Dick the Damned says

    It’s not often that i’m up on popular culture, but i heard on the radio a day or two ago the definition of a ‘bieber’. It’s a dude who looks like a girl. (All he has to do is get a haircut, a proper one, that is.)

  14. millssg99 says

    I guess you could call it “what’s wrong with cable news”. I call it what’s wrong with the general culture. The fact that anyone cares what this jack ass punk does is what disturbs me.

  15. woozy says

    I thought I was cynical and wouldn’t be surprised by things like this but … !shit!

    Jaw on floor.

  16. thinkfree83 says

    A couple of weeks ago, I realized that HLN (formerly Headline News) hasn’t had any real news on it in about five years. It reminds me of what Marge Simpson said in the classic episode, “Lisa’s Wedding,” “Fox became a hardcore sex channel so gradually, I barely even noticed!”

  17. yubal says

    That’s the reason I keep coming back to PZ’s blog.

    Spot on, concise, relevant.

    Well, at least those three come together often enough to stay tuned. :)

  18. mildlymagnificent says

    I’m just sorry I can only get Al Jazeera for half an hour in the afternoon … or stay up until silly o’clock in the morning for an hour’s worth. They’re the only ones worth watching, though our ABC, SBS are much much better than any commercial channel (along with the BBC). Al Jazeera’s better than any of them.

  19. Holms says

    Australia is headed this way on several of the commercial channels. News being presented in discussion panel format, with guests promoting their latest movie / album / comedy tour? Check. News anchors responding to tweets live? Check. News shows devoted to celebrities? Check

    The only real difference that I can see is that we don’t quite have that saturating every channel. Yet.