To Many News Consumers, TV News Has Lost Its Mind

The evidence is only anecdotal, which might qualify as no evidence, but I keep hearing from friends and acquaintances that they are sick of our sensationalist TV news media.

Their complaints have been commonplace for years, but they are doing something about it by reducing their consumption of TV news or bailing on it altogether.

Their complaints are familiar: On the cable “news” channels, they are tired of the biased yelling, posturing and lecturing at the expense of real news -- i.e., facts. 

On those channels and also the broadcast networks, they are tired of news anchors and commentators portraying the country they live in, and for that matter, the entire world as living continually in a state of crisis.



Where local TV news is concerned, the evening news shows (now starting as early as 4 p.m. in many markets) have taken the traditional “if it bleeds, it leads” philosophy to new, unprecedented heights.

I hear time and time again from people that they are not lasting five minutes when they turn on a local newscast at 11 p.m. and all they see are horrendous stories of violence. As a result, they are opting to kick the local news habit.

Add the news feeds that show up constantly on smartphones and the social-media free-for-all that explodes all day long over everything under the sun, and you have a recipe for stress, worry and high anxiety.

People are tired of feeling that way, and they are realizing now that the blame can be laid at the feet of our crisis-flogging news media. 

Time and time again, I hear this from people: They just do not know where, or from whom, they can get news about our world today that they can rely on.

To many, TV news has lost its mind. And so they are opting out, even if some of them still have the desire to stay informed about our world and its current events.

For most of our lives, many of us have lived under the assumption that we need to "stay informed" or that we "need to know" what is going on in the world.

However, with our TV news media today doing little more than elevating every story to Code Red, the "need to know" is now taking a backseat to "need to not be anxious and frightened."

See the "America In Crisis" banner in the background of the above photo from a typical episode of "Face the Nation" on CBS?

The photo is from 2020, on a day that CBS News deemed a day of crisis. I wonder if it really was? When it comes to TV news, who can tell? On TV’s breathless newscasts and news channels, every day is Crisis Day in America. 

And every story, no matter how mundane, is "Breaking News." Along with "News Alert," these words are the most over-used words in TV news today.

In fact, the constant overdoing it with these kinds of labels has been undermining the credibility and reliability of TV news for years.

It is not lost on anyone that TV news traffics in this kind of manufactured hysteria to lure the gullible and keep them tuned in. Today, more and more people are onto the scam.

4 comments about "To Many News Consumers, TV News Has Lost Its Mind".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 19, 2022 at 10:08 a.m.

    Yet, viewers still watch "TV news". It's right up there with dramas,  reality shows,  movies and sports in the time spent stats  and is number 1 with older adults.

  2. John Luma from iLumaNation, August 19, 2022 at 2:32 p.m.

    Mostly everything said here is true. But --
    But is it really marketing puffery or hollow purple prose or yellow journalism to call a crisis world and crisis United States any other way?

    It is inevitable that they must -- in the interest of emotional and factual accuracy -- call most of the top stories they focus on BREAKING NEWS. And make viewers feel it is CRISIS DAY IN AMERICA every day. 

    Because that is the truth: Donald Trump trying his best, with Fox News providing the hourly megaphone, to turn our democracy into a dictatorship run by one far-right party and himself. And the U.S. and the world suffering endless destruction via storms, flooding, global warming -- and Trumpsters in Congress not caring or doing anything to help stop it. And RINOS in Congress promising they will end Social Security, Medicare and Medicade in five years. Along with, this week -- the far-right attacking the legitimacy of FBI agents doing their jobs and threatening their lives. It is endless: all the cultural divisions the Trumpsters have gained power from focusing on for the last 20 years. White supremacy, Christian political supremacy, ending a woman's right to an abortion and now even contraceptives!

    To report on any newscast that there is not BREAKING NEWS on these endless crises all day long would be to deny reality. And if people are getting worn out by the constant language describing disaster (and I am worn out myself) -- that's the nature of the truth. And right now, many of us "can't handle the truth."... Thanks for listening.

  3. Terry Kollman from Charter Marketing Group, August 19, 2022 at 2:42 p.m.

    David Zaslav, the Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros./Discovery may have the answer.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 19, 2022 at 6:12 p.m.

    Terry, if Zaslav thinks that the answer to CNN's rating woes is a sharp turn to "straight" news reporting and much less on commentary he's ignoring the Fox and, to a lesser extent, the MSNBC success stories.  CNN's basic problem when it comes to average minute ratings is that many of its viewers tune in for very brief periods to see what's up---then go elsewhere. In contrast Fox viewers stick to it for much longer intervals---because they agree with the network's political viewpoint and want to soak up more of it and, also, because they have bonded with various  Fox hosts and on-air personalities. Result: Cnn probably has greater weekly reach---but trails very badly on an average minute---or time spent---basis. 

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