I don’t know how many of you follow your local news. Since I don’t have cable or access to the internet from home, I’m pretty much a prisoner of local channels (except for that half hour in the morning and the evening) when it comes to my daily dose of the news.

”You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”

Excerpt from Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues

Five O’ clock rolls around and in my adopted hometown, it really doesn’t matter if it’s AM or PM. Regardless of what went on in the big wide world last night or yesterday, the local news will always stay the same.

5:00

Anchorman:

“Good (insert morning/evening”) everybody. Let’s take a look at the latest news making the headlines here in Central Ohio

Cut to shot of car wreck, weather damage, local robbery, replete with out of breath reporter covering this breaking news “LIVE”.

Anchorwoman:

“We’ll have more on that later in the newscast but first lets take a look a Doppler radar and see what’s going on outside in your neighborhood.”
Cut to shot of gasping for breath local weather person describing in great detail the non events that either just occurred or are about to not occur.

Anchorman:

”Wow,(insert Jim or Jane), let’s see what effect that has on your (insert morning or evening) traffic.”

Cut to shot of local roadways with voice over by a local off duty traffic cop describing in great detail what roads are jammed due to accidents or road construction.

5:05:

Break for commercial

5:08:

Return from commercial

Anchorman:

“Here’s more on the story we told you about a little bit earlier”

Cut to shot of gasping out of breath reporter providing no new details of car wreck, weather damage, local robbery but is still there “LIVE”.

Anchorwoman:

“Thanks, (insert Jim or Jane), we’ll have some more on that later in the broadcast. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what’s going on outside your window right now and what we can expect over the next few days.”

Cut to shot of out of breath local weather person waving arms over a map over the United States and informing us of the FIVE DAY FORECAST
Cut to shot of latest traffic report

5:12:

Break for commercial

5:15:

Return from commercial

Anchorman:

“Make sure you tune in tonight at 11:00 for breaking news and updates to the stories we told you about earlier.”

Anchorwoman:

(beaming) “Our viewers just sent these pictures in. Aren’t they adorable?”

Cut to shot of kittens and/or puppies in either cute poses or costumes.

5:20

Anchorman:

“Oh my, remember folks, if you have a picture of your pet and you’d like to see it on the air, email us at www.naseuatingpetpictures.com”

Anchorwoman:

“Before we go, let’s take one last look at the weather and traffic.”
Cut to shot of local weather person with arms still flagging about. If something bad happened in the world of weather somewhere else on the planet, cut to video, if not, make cute comments.

Cut to shot of local roadways that look suspiciously the same as they did seven minutes ago.

Sign off

Borgo Commentary:

Just once in awhile I’d like to see what went on in the City Council or, for that matter, since I reside in the State capital, what went on regarding matters that effect the entire population of the state. I realize that might take a bit of “investigative journalism” but that kinda stuff costs money and manpower. I'm not asking for anything too hard hitting, just something I generally couldn't determine for myself by sticking my head out of the window.

The weather and the traffic, they’re free each and every day of the week.

American local news programming has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with journalism, and most local news directors will tell you as much without undue prompting. They'll also usually tell you that, with the pressure they're under, they're doing the best they can and that it's really not their fault - if the networks had their way they'd replace their news programming with "Seinfeld" reruns. Problem is, they can't.

The FCC mandate states that the airways are public property, owned by no one (or everyone) and regulated by the federal government - access is merely leased to the broadcasters. In exchange for them making a profit from the people via advertising, television networks are required to air a certain amount of programming that's deemed to be in the public interest. Hence the news.

The thing is, they're a time sink and a money pit - nobody really watches the news apart from for sports scores, traffic and weather. Ever wonder why those three segments air at the end of a 30-minute news block? The networks want you to watch everything else leading up to them first, everything else being the commercials in between horror stories, and horror sells - car chases, burning buildings, water main leaks, things with enough visual appeal for people flipping past the station to stop and go "wow!" long enough for the next commercial break. Sad but true.

There's also the problem of format - every half-hour block of news is metered to within an inch of its life, and once you take out time for commercials, dubiously titled investigative or consumer watchdog segments (which are news, but engineered in such a way as to make them sound far more important than they really are), weather etc. and throws to the weather etc., you're left with something like 4-5 minutes to relate the news of the day, everything from international wars to street corner disputes.

I'm just saying - if you ever wanted to know why the local news is a violent and tawdry, uninformative slime pit, well. That's why.



"You gained 5 experience points! You need 666 more XP to earn level 9."
Proof right there that the news is evil.

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