Payback time: You want speculation, news media? Fine. Let's speculate about you for a change.


payback time

Day in and day out, I watch, read, listen, and write about news. And because I do so much watching, reading, and listening. I tend to notice recurring themes. A major recurring theme is how much time the so-called "news" [sic] media spends on speculation.

breaking speculation

Most of that speculation centers on the 2016 presidential election, focusing specifically on Hillary Clinton vs (currently) Chris Christie. Newsflash, "journalists": It's only 2013, and you started this endless loop of What Ifs the day after Election 2012. This is ludicrous. This is not news, this is meaningless filler and a shameless ploy used to pull in viewers.

And hey viewers, how about you stop enabling?

Then again, there is very little "real" news reporting any more, not since news departments became commercialized all those years ago. Not since it became all about profit, which news stories sell, which headlines attract ratings, and as a result, attract sponsors and their buckets of money.

And don't get me started on media bias. The CBS "60 Minutes" Benghazi story scandal is only the latest, and if you're a regular reader, you know that the Sunday morning talk shows have an obvious rightward slant.

But back to that nasty speculation habit. When you watch the "news" shows, you see them produce hours upon hours of What If about future elections, about the *gasp!* doomed fate of the Affordable Care Act, about which freedoms we might lose if we don't do something about some catastrophe that might or might not happen, about which new scandal *could* result from Darrell Issa's umpteenth witch hunt about absolutely everything/nothing.

You can actually see concrete examples of all this speculation in theirĀ  TV chyrons, like, Low Obamacare enrollment numbers: Sign of problems to come?"; "A third 'Bush' in office?"; "Will the world end in 2012? Many people believe so." We get a ton of cowardly headlines in the form of a question, Alex, so that nobody has to commit to actual, you know, reporting.

Facts schmacts.

Well now it's our turn. News outlets want to speculate? Fine. Let's turn the tables and speculate about them for a change:

  • Will Fox finally become defunct when Americans wake up and realize they're a bunch of propagandists and liars? You decide.
  • Will MSNBChristie require financial assistance when viewers revolt after on their constant fawning over the ::cough!:: "moderate" New Jersey photo op glutton? Who knows?
  • Will ABC's ratings take a fatal plunge the next time syrupy panel regular Peggy Noonan condescends ad nauseam on "This Week"? We'll find out.
  • Will CNN change its name to Comedy Central 2 when they become self aware enough to realize what a parody they've become? It's anybody's guess.
  • "Some say" cable news has crossed a line by being bought and paid for by right wing corporate cash monsters who find themselves more than a little obsessed with Christie, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Marsha Blackburn, Reince Priebus, Marco Rubio, John Boehner, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham. Could this spell trouble for attracting future investors? We'll have to wait and see.
  • "Anonymous sources" tell The Political Carnival that the glut of Big Pharma ads-- especially for Cialis-- that saturate cable news channels could lead to a revolt among increasingly hypochondriacal viewers, specifically bathtub owners. True? We can't say for sure.
  • We're hearing that air time spent on trivia-- like how many shoppers are lining up to buy the new iPhone, instead of on hard news stories-- could possibly-- we're speculating here-- cause riots among viewers with functioning brains. More on that as details emerge.
  • Rumors abound about the habit and practice of cable show hosts inviting other cable show hosts to provide commentary that they just gave on their own shows. Incestuous? Tweet us with your answers.
  • We're learning-- well, we've heard-- well, okay, we overheard-- that cable news viewers are about to retaliate en masse over all the in-house backslapping, "my friend" references, "be safe" cautions, and insufferable book plugs. True or false? At this point, we can only make an educated guess.

speculation what do I know

  • What great comments! I'm with ya on just about everything you all said!

  • vocqueen

    Laffy, I write up who's going to be on the Sunday talkies and what topics they are going to blab about every week for another website, and after doing it for over a year, I can pretty much predict what the topics are going to be based simply on who is going to be on. One thing that doing this has done for me: sharpened my snarkitude! Any more, I don't think I could get through writing about the shows without it.

  • suesista

    Dang. Too right. I stopped all TV 8 months ago. It was MSNBC that drove me off the cliff. The spin made me squirm--I'd actually avert my eyes and hum...painful to admit the truth, but when I found myself grousing to friends about Tweety, O'Donnell and the rest making convoluted conclusions about the 'implications' contained in sound bites, I knew the love affair was over. It's lovely -now I read and vet everything I read, and draw my own conclusions.

  • paullwolborsky

    Chris Hayes comes off as pompous sometimes, his wording can be sterile, and he asks questions and then answers them. Extremely annoying. But he surprises me sometimes too, like when he made the point that De Blasio is Mayor to nearly as many people Chris Christie is Governor too - that blew my mind.

    I think he's on tenuous grounds at MSNBC. Even Rachel isn't chatting with him much anymore.

  • paullwolborsky

    Laffy, when you're finished tearing MSM a new one, be sure to double-wash the speculate off the speculum


  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    Spot-on! .....Exactamundo! ....Nailed it!
    As more & more true journalists shine a light on our deteriorating (and corporately commandeered) fourth estate, we'll all be better off as a society. And you did it with a smile. Nice!

  • Same here! I warmed to him big time, to my surprise. I always liked him, but now he's appointment TV.

  • Chernynkaya

    I was actually going to mention him and forgot! Yes, it took me a while to warm up to him, but now I find his is the best of MSNBC, He has a great variety of guests.

  • Chris Hayes has new faces on, thank god.

  • Chernynkaya

    Amen, Sistah! I could not agree more. It's just so stale and pointless. In addition to their breathless speculation, I am sick to death of the same paid contributors making those breathless speculations. We all know exactly what each of them will say by now anyway--even the ones I like and agree with. Does anyone wonder what, say, Jonathan Capehart, Howard Fineman, or even Joy Reid (who I love) will have to say about any given issue at this point? I'll tell you what I would appreciate from these pundits though: A way forward. I'd like some solutions for a change; some new ideas. We're pretty much stuck right now and need some action.

  • 42bkdodgr

    Wonderful Laffy. I have stopped watching cable news about a month ago, for the very reasons you stated. Every show seems the same, with almost the same stories, with the same or similar guests. As you said, news has become a ratings game and bad news, conspiracies, phony investigation gets viewers.

  • I have tried. It was so boring I stopped. Might have just been the time of day, the show I caught.

  • Mike Wolf

    Try watching Al Jazeera America.