Reporting the news is complicated business. If you just report the facts, you might fall into the trap of being accurate but boring. If you infuse your reporting with a little humor and creative flair, you might be editorializing. And no matter what you do, they’ll hate you for it.
About the only benefit you get from reporting the news is high blood pressure and the intrinsic rewards of knowing that what you’re doing is a crucial element of our American democracy, like voting and buying politicians.
In fact, reporting the news has gotten so complicated that some TV networks like CNN, Fox News and MSNBC avoid reporting the news as much as possible. That has left people longing for information having to make the difficult decision to either read quality journalism or retweet and share items from their Crazy Uncle Joe’s social media stream.
Naturally, most everyone chooses the latter. That’s why our debates have devolved from long letters between Adams and Jefferson about issues that could shape the future of a country to Facebook memes shared between Earl and Denise about the shape of the Earth, flat or round when, clearly, the Earth is more of a cone.
I’m here to help you people navigate the TV world of non-news because I know you’re probably too lazy to read and maybe even too lazy to change the channel and get a single perspective different from those in your bubble. In short, here’s how it works …
CNN: Erin Burnett picks one issue — 99 percent of the time Trump-related — and has a conservative and liberal come on to predictably argue about what that issue means. Then Anderson Cooper has four liberals and two conservatives debate the same issue from the same vantage points. Then Chris Cuomo acts like he’s totally open to discussion before bringing out a liberal and a conservative on the same issue, cutting off one and letting the other speak. Then Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon make wisecracks and then say how much they love each other before Don brings out three liberals to discuss the same issue CNN has discussed all day. This format, of course, is occasionally interrupted by a town hall with one of 587 Democratic presidential candidates, most of whom have the campaign slogan “Um, who??”
Fox News: Each night begins with Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum greasing the skids with preliminary talk of crybaby liberals and oppressed Trumpers. Then Tucker Carlson goes on a rant about crazy libtards and brings on some person representative of all Democrats, such as a gay clown who beats puppies with hammers while criticizing capitalism as Tucker makes confused and angry faces. Then Sean Hannity praises Trump by ranking him slightly ahead of Jesus, and Laura Ingraham talks about how much she loves Trump but rates him way ahead of Jesus because Jesus sounds like an immigrant’s name. And the next morning, President Trump sits on Steve Doocy’s lap on “Fox and Friends” while Brian Kilmeade rubs his back.
MSNBC: The entire network is designed to make sure you know that obviously offensive things are even more offensive than you first thought, and why you should also be offended by that seemingly non-offensive thing.
An alternative is to get your news from the radio, which is that thing that used to talk to you before your 4-year-old grandbaby started yelling, “Alexa! Play ‘Baby Shark’!” Then there’s local radio news, where you can almost hear the pages of local newspaper turning.
That leaves print journalism, which is some guy named Fred chasing down 12 stories a day while corporate cuts his salary. You’ve seen his headlines online but don’t know the real story because the thought of paying $1 a month for access horrifies you.
At the end of the day, it’s all FAKE NEWS anyway, right? This is why it may be dark days for journalism and knowledge, but things are sure looking up for the liquor store business. We’ve got a lot to drink about … so let’s hope Mr. Trump doesn’t close that border with Mexico. We’re gonna need more tequila!