The proliferation of chat and banter in news programs

I am old-fashioned. Very old fashioned. And one of my pet peeves is with news that has ceased to be news but is now mixed with inane chat. At one time, the news came on at a certain time of day for a limited time, say 30 minutes. That was it. The upside was that because of the limited time available, it had to be used judiciously and not wasted with trivia. The downside of this was that some newsworthy stories either did not make the cut or could not be covered in the depth necessary. Furthermore, if you missed the news broadcast for whatever reason, you had to wait until the next day, like with the newspaper.

The advent of round-the-clock cable news stations seemed promised to solve all those problems and seemed like a great boon. The downside is that stations need to now fill all that airtime and doing real reporting is hard work, not to mention costly. It is much easier and cheaper to just get a bunch of people together and have them shoot the breeze about any old topic, however idiotic the result.

Stephen Colbert seems to share my contempt for what has ensued.

(This clip aired on July 31, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)

It also used to be the case that there was one news anchor who would introduce a story, hand it over to the correspondent reporting it, and then take it back to transition to the next one. But then we had the introduction of the anchor team of two or more. What that has led to is the introduction of banter between the co-hosts. Even NPR has gone to this mode in its news programs.

I hate this banter. It is fine when you are doing it yourself with the people around you. But there is nothing more boring than listening in to the banter of others. The banter between news co-hosts is silly and inane and should be dispensed with. If I want nonsense I can go to C-Span and listen to Congress.

Just give me the damn news. I am not in the least interested in your friendly exchanges with your fellow hosts. Save that for the coffee room.


  1. grumpyoldfart says

    Who remembers the day when Bryant Gumble got the news team talking about whether or not it was good idea to drink the pickle juice from the jar after all the pickles had been eaten?

  2. Chiroptera says

    Ah, I still have very old memories of the Huntley and Brinkley on NBC. No banter; each would just call out the other’s name when it was their turn to read the next news item.

    I really miss that old format. Does that make me old?

  3. justsomeguy says

    To be fair, though, most of what the big networks decide *is* newsworthy enough to be called news is just as useless and infuriating as the chit-chat.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *