I confess that on days when I’m working at home, I sometimes keep CNN on in the background if there isn’t something compelling for the background on Sci Fi. (I have no idea WTF Charlie Jade is, and there’s no cute guys in it, so I’m on CNN this afternoon.)
But dear Edward R. Murrow in heaven, CNN’s afternoon anchor Rick Sanchez makes me want to commit felonious homicide. If he came onto my TV and explained how awful it is to roast kittens and gobble them up as tasty hors d’oeuvres, I wouldn’t believe that he means it. There’s a disgusting glee with which he approaches even the most awful news stories that turns my stomach… and an awful glee with which he (or his producers, or maybe all of them in concert) choose the stories to cover.
In the space of mere moments just now, he went from faux despair over a photo that captures the moment at which a suicide bomber exploded — all the while gleefully pointing out how it looks like that one innocent bystander in the foreground is actually getting ignited by the flames of the explosion — to faux outrage over a Japanese video game that allows players to rape women. I mean, that’s the most despicable concept for a video game ever, but why give the game extra free publicity? And why on earth would Rick Sanchez linger over the particularly disgusting aspects of the game the way he did? Unless he’s getting some sort of kick out of it… even if that kick is just the knowledge that this tawdriness is going to appeal to a certain segment of his audience?
I wouldn’t write about this, except that the point of this kind of “news”cast is clearly focused more on ratings than on actual coverage of important news: it thinks it’s entertainment (even if it’s not particularly entertaining). It always drives me fucking insane when an anchor on CNN (or MSNBC) interrupts a debate just as it starts to get substantive with “We’re out of time”… How the fuck does CNN run out time? CNN is on 24 hours a day — it’s got nothing but time. It doesn’t need Rick Sanchez’s pointless yet phony populism… unless its only purpose is ratings, not information.
I know, I know: I’m naive to think that journalism should be about information and analysis and education, not ratings. But I prefer to consider that “idealistic” and “optimistic” rather than naive.