Breakfast Broadcast

I cringe every time I see CNN on TV.

It’s not entirely their fault. Too much of anything becomes intolerable after awhile, and I spent an entire semester scoffing at CNN’s headlines at breakfast. At 8am I’m already Not Having It, but add that to CNN’s unique brand of terribly repetitive journalism and it’s a recipe for contempt.

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Whoever writes these headlines needs to be stopped.

What’s so bad about CNN, you say? Uninformative and often misleading headlines, fearmongering, ethnocentric and culturally insensitive in both choice of topics and actual discussion, compensation for narrow selection of subjects with overcoverage when there’s no actual news (cough Malaysian plane cough).

And then there’s the broadcasters themselves. The journalists at 10am and 12pm look nearly identical: blonde, middle-aged women made to look “intelligently hot”—distinctly feminine outfits (the “hot” side”) and thick black glasses (the “intelligent” side). I can’t respect a station that so blatantly buys into stereotypes.

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My roommate Viv making fun of (and flipping off) our very favorite broadcaster, Ashleigh.

Admittedly, I’d probably hate CNN less if I heard people’s voices instead of reading the closed-captioning—people seem much less intelligent and persuasive without the help of tone and conversational rhythm—but that distinction is important. When I focus on just the words, I realize how absurd the coverage is, instead of getting caught up in pathos.

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I’ll also admit that CNN isn’t unique in most of its faults (fear, misinformation, casting choices that reveal misogyny), but I do think it’s the most annoying when it comes to overcoverage of insignificant points and repetition of old information.

Regardless, I’m awfully grateful that my meal schedule this semester means that I don’t have to see Ashleigh’s aggressive coverage of unimportant American news stories. There’s only so much I can take.

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This post is part of my April A to Z Challenge. For more All Things College posts, click here

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49 thoughts on “Breakfast Broadcast

  1. I’m always struck by how sensationalist your news media coverage is. On my three visits to North America, I have cringed whenever the news is on.

    Of course, our media has its problems but the one thing they will be hit for is scaremongering and regulation prevents most of that to a certain degree.

    Comedian Russell Howard shows some great differences here

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s getting bad here in Canada too, but you guys are really over the top with the sensationalism. It’s no wonder people are tuning out in droves.
    Since the 24 hour news cycle came into being, what about 25 years ago (?), journalism has really morphed into Info-tainment.
    The one that gets me to turn it off immediately is the thinly veiled, “We don’t actually know anything yet, but we want you to keep watching, so we’ll just make shit up and speculate until we do know something.”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I try to catch headlines in case there is any real news. My husband watches a lot of news and my comment is “why do they think that is news?” And you pick the news channel on which way you want it slanted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Even though I hate the sensationalism, I’m more informed now about current events than I ever was before–at home we don’t watch the news and I don’t read the paper, so having CNN on in the background at least provides SOME valuable information about the world that I wasn’t getting before.

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  4. Yes, the “24-hour news cycle” means they have to fill the air with things like “we’re here waiting for news about the announcement that’s about to be made”. Complete waste of time. I remember on 9-11 that they played the same video of the plane flying into the World Trade Center endlessly. No analysis, just fearmongering indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was a failed rocket launch a few months ago and I don’t think they analyzed it at all, just showed the video over and over. I don’t really remember anything about 9/11, but I can imagine how it would be the same.

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    • There’s simply too much competition among news sources. It’s good, because there shouldn’t but just one source, but it also means they have to compete for clicks, which means radical headlines. Vicious cycle for sure.

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  5. I NEVER watch TV news (except when I was interviewed and was curious as to what part they would broadcast), but I’ve traveled with a CNN news junkie. Wanted to stay out of the hotel room just to avoid TV. Remember, they are selling advertising not reporting news.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a funny story. I actually don’t mind CNN, but then again I don’t watch it often. I have grown to hate my country’s public broadcasting news. Public broadcasting seems to have been hijacked by the Labor Party here, and this doesn’t mean no racism/misogyny/etc. It just means thier prejudice is sugarcoated with political correctness.

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  7. I think news broadcasts strive to leave you with the impression that the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket. News channels, network news, local news broadcasts, doesn’t matter. CNN is just one of the worst offenders. It’s because bad news is what they’re all about.

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  8. Interesting observation about the closed captioning. I’ve noticed a similar thing with commercials, that if I watch them on mute I can tell EXACTLY what they’re trying to do to me.

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    • It’s bizarre! But an important experiment. It shows how challenging persuasive writing can be, while persuasive speaking has suprasegmental information (intonation, etc.) that affects your perspectives.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Unfortunately I’m not surprised that the majority of our country’s News stations contribute to the destruction of “news.” Since they are all controlled by very few companies it’s inevitable to see “journalists” just rehashing old stuff and spreading misinformation, as it’s dispersed out to their dozens of sister channels — all that appear to be different networks/stations, etc. on the surface but really answer to the same people higher up on the ladder.

    Just like many other things in this nation…it’s all about the bottom line and politics. The sad thing is lots of people just soak all of the news up and take it at face value and it’s a shame that sometimes, even it some stories seem to have some validity to them, it’s not always easy to tell whether the information you’re getting from the television news is accurate or not.

    Every time I think I about that, I start to reconsider my interest in moving away from the entertainment/media industry (and I consider News to be part of that because it has unfortunetly become part of the entertainment landscape in the way that it operates based on the stories and ridiculous headlines that it runs) to pursue other interests; I begin to think that somebody’s got to start putting out media content that helps the population rather than scaring people, confusing people and being blatantly disrespectful to people. After all, we’re all here on this earth sharing the same space. I wish many of the news outlets understood that but everybody’s gotta eat, so I guess they’re only concerned with being seen, trumping their competitors and most importantly…getting paid.

    ~Nicole
    The Madlab Post
    The Madlab Post

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    • I’ve thought about going into journalism so many times because I love doing investigative pieces, but I would HATE all the culture that goes along with modifying headlines & using scare tactics and other guaranteed attention-grabbers. It’s sad, I agree. Thanks for such an insightful comment!

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  10. I try to catch news on public TV and public radio (I live in U.S.). It’s not perfect but at least I don’t have to deal with commercials too. I occasionally listen to local stations. I think it’s wise to not depend on one source. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and pretend nothing is happening in the world. I say if CNN or whatever… bothers you, find another source, but strive to understand the big picture. I can’t help but feel the media is overly manipulative.

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    • It only really bothers me because it’s ALWAYS on in the dining hall, but frankly if it weren’t I’d be living in a bubble where I don’t know anything that’s going on, which isn’t necessarily better.

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  11. Interesting viewpoint. CNN is available here, as are some other US outlets (I live in France but am from England so my satellite dish points to UK services), but I think I’ll stick with the BBC. It’s far from perfect, but it is less sensationalist than some others and is, to my mind at least, the best of a mediocre bunch.

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  12. I’m laughing at your perfect photo accompanying your comment about only reading the captions: “You got that access in that prison.”

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  13. pbs is a good alternative.
    I snickered about the female newscaster. Looks is not the most important thing about any of us. However, prepare yourself, being attractive helps you get ahead in almost every line of work.
    Of course, actual ability is important to, but you will see looks and bearing trump ability at times. My dad said, “Do your job well, they have to keep people who do the work.”

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  15. Hi, Sabina! Coming by to visit from the Things Matter A to Z Roundup. Excellent post. Those headlines are ridiculous. I hate how everything has to be positioned for the most drama. Imagine how short the newscasts would be if they just told everything straight out! Then we could spend the rest of the day enjoying life and ignoring our TV. Oh no wait, what about the ratings crisis? :)

    Liked by 1 person

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