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.