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World News?
Back to the internet

By Dorothy Anne Seese
dottie@politicalusa.com

1/09/2001

In the Phoenix metroplex, ABC's World News Tonight with Peter Jennings comes on at 5:30 p.m. and by 5:57 p.m., after having watched the program, I knew that employees are being monitored in 54% of American workplaces by electronic devices, and that Arkansas was still iced over.

What I did not see was any world news.  There was nothing on the continuing conflict between Jews and Palestinians.  I saw nothing of the horrors occurring in the Sudan.  There was nothing on the conditions of present day Bosnia or Kosovo.  The weakened status of our military wasn't mentioned.  Not one word was said about the conflict between China and Taiwan.

World News Tonight seems to limit the world largely to the United States.  Well, there was a short note that the Pope apparently doesn't like Bill Clinton and we saw both, in Rome, for a few seconds.  Hey, the Pope isn't alone in his impressions of Bubba.  That's world news?

The reporting of problems in the United States was limited to ice storms in Arkansas and power shortages in California, without giving the reasons behind the energy crisis in California or any investigative reporting on the same.  It's nice to blame ice in Arkansas, and the San Diego wildfires are being blamed on a cigarette which is convenient because it won't cause an investigation.  As long as the media can avoid getting down to issues, it will.

Oh yes, I did see some footage on Emanem because of his nominations for a Grammy.  Some teens were shown saying he speaks to this generation.  Whee, what a way to characterize America's youth!

I wonder what Walter Cronkite watches these days?  IF Gabriel Heatter, Edward R. Murrow, Eric Sevareid, or Walter Winchell were alive today, what would they recommend for getting news?  Probably the Internet!  They would doubtless not be allowed to become the journalistic giants that they were in their own time.  Peter Jennings draws something like $7 million a year for looking suave.  That isn't journalism, it's theatrics.

Television news is not producing journalism.  At least, it is not producing journalism as we were taught it in the 50's at UCLA and other major universities in the United States.  People went out and hunted down the news.  Some still do, but not for major network television.  Network television is next to useless.  Major print journalism is following close behind, because all major media are diluting the truth, avoiding the issues or slanting their reporting.

Then we have the great checkout counter tabloids about who's in who else's bed, or what prophecies the seers found in their coffee grounds.  People buy and read that junk too.  Frankly, I wouldn't let them give me one free.

It isn't that nothing is occurring in the world but World News Tonight makes it seem that way.  Their opening segment was on the stock market surge after Alan Greenspan's lowering the interest rate a half point, and then the downer the day after.  Two market analysts gave opposing opinions as to whether or not we are in recession.  A fast few seconds were devoted to the fact that Sears has made the decision to close a number of its stores and lay off over 2,000 people, but if you were checking on dinner for about a half minute, you missed that story altogether.

When will we get some news?

After George W. Bush takes the oath of office as President of the United States.  It won't be real news but it will look like real news.  It will be aimed at making all that's being glossed over today look like we were better off before the Republican administration moved into the White House.

That's when the market analysts will declare recession, when our military weaknesses will be revealed, when major crises long in the making will be brought forcefully to public attention with the Republican administration as the target for blame.

In the meantime, we'll just play with ice storms and show Bubba with the Pope or the natural disasters not even Clinton can control.  In his home state yet.

So much for journalism in the American media.  Back to the Internet!

Dorothy Anne Seese, 2001

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