This election cycle has provided no shortage of news that’s fit to air. Each new day brings some new wonderful Trump-ism that can provide hours of new sound-bites, or some new scandal brought to light that provides pundits and comedians hours of new material to dig into. There probably hasn’t been a better time to be a political spectator in the United States; the good times just keep on coming. Unfortunately, that might actually be a bad thing.
Twenty-four hour news stations like CNN, FOX News and MSNBC are actively contributing to the decline of American politics. This isn’t exactly a controversial opinion, as this election really drives that point home.
Recently, a group of friends and I were having drinks with CNN playing in the background. None of us were paying particular attention to the television, until someone pointed out that Sheryl Crow was being interviewed.
Sheryl Crow is known for being a singer and songwriter; she did not receive fame for her activity in politics. As it turns out, Crow has started a Change.org petition in order to shorten the election cycle. She feels that it drags on for far too long, and many others agreed with her argument.
That alone did not warrant this article. What warranted this article was the fact that Crow was interviewed for at least 15 minutes. She did not have any substantive or nuanced opinions on the topic, as evidenced when she repeated the same bullet points over and over again. It was clear to the audience that the interview could have been concluded in a fraction of the time and that the anchor was prolonging the entire affair.
This single interview is a microcosm of the problem of 24-hour news. News companies are so hungry to fill up screen time that they will waste as much time as possible on anything that gets their attention, such as the infamous downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 incident, which earned CNN ridicule from pundits across the country. When something newsworthy happens, these stations run it into the ground. When something newsworthy hasn’t happened, they will gladly exasperate the event in order to wrangle a few more viewers into their grasp. Happily for newscasters, this includes anything uttered by either candidate, which makes this election cycle even more infuriating to cope with.
This sort of behavior degrades not only the dignity of American news, but of American politics as well. We could learn a lesson from the BBC, who on April 18, 1930 informed their viewers, “There is no news today.”
The country could really use a break like that. Relaxing piano music, much like that BBC broadcast, would be a nice bonus.
Danny Miles is a third-year student who just reads his news anyway.