Archive for news? what news?

SNL spoofs CNN: Pregnancy test sends out countless irrelevant bulletins


cnn most trusted

Whether we watch CNN, MSNBC, Fox, or the Big Three TV networks, we are often subjected to a constant stream of non-news, redundant reporting, irrelevant stories, inane bulletins, anchors and commentators with nothing new to say, repetitive clips, video packages, you name it.

I rarely watch CNN any more, but I do keep an eye out for interesting tweets on the Twitter Machine. And guess what? The tweets from people and organizations I follow were filled with mockery and snark about CNN's incessant coverage of the horrific Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappearance.

Coverage of a major news story is one thing, red herrings and extraneous filler are quite another. It was hard to avoid the multitude of tweets noting how CNN devoted twenty-four hours a day (or so it seemed) to one story, even when there was nothing to report.

Ocean footage is not news.

CNN was clearly aware of the social media reaction. Well, Jake Tapper was, anyway. When I retweeted Jacki Schechner (@JackiSchechner), about it, he popped into our thread to inform us that CNN, as we speak, was airing a report about something else. Hey, if you have to interject that your network has taken a hiatus from their fixation on one story, then maybe the criticism is valid.

jake tapper tweet jacki schechner CNN Malaysia

That's an order! One that I didn't obey.

If only news networks would become, you know, news networks, instead of commercialized, ratings-centric infotainment feeds.

And with that, here is Saturday Night Live's "commercial" spoofing news media coverage generally and CNN specifically. They nailed it:

BREAKING: CNN more confident than ever that it will soon know if you’re pregnant,” read one alert from the test, in between updates about Oscar Pistorius removing his legs in court and Kesha. Ultimately, we learned nothing from the pregnancy test...

H/t: Mediaite


How to practice honest journalism, in 26 seconds: VIDEO



there is no news missing plane tweet media coverage


Journalism, are you out there? Hello? There is no news any more. It's become commercialized, packaged, and infotained. It's all about ratings, not facts or investigative reporting.

So when someone comes along and makes a refreshingly honest statement about an ongoing news story, one that's been over-saturating the airwaves the way the GOP over-saturates its speeches with religious references, it's time to pause, blink, and applaud:

applause gif

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

On Friday, Rachel Maddow did something we rarely see these days. She practiced honest journalism. Oh wait, she does that a lot. But this time she was so honest, so clearly and succinctly honest, that for those few seconds, I felt pure relief.

Relief from the constant bombardment of shoddy, desperate journalism by networks in search of an audience.

Relief from relentless speculation and painful reports after which the headlines are reversed within hours.

Relief from recap after recap of grasping at straws, straws that are breaking the spirits of loved ones who hang on every word.

So thank you, Rachel, for being responsible and sensitive:

"There is no news on the missing plane...

"There are NO developments to report...

"We will not try to turn the lack of news in this very sad story into something that sounds like news when it isn't."

"We will not try to turn the lack of news in this very sad story into something that sounds like news when it isn't."

Thank you.

Now back to our regularly scheduled 24/7 coverage of nothing already in progress.


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 their  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


This is what Meet the Press has come to


waste of time

Seriously, NBC? When so many life-changing (and life-ending) events are taking place all over the world, this is what Meet the Press spends its time investigating?


According to a survey conducted by Meet the Press, 58% of the House of Representatives uses an iPhone, compared to 23% who use a Blackberry.

meet the press iphone poll

That was one of three-- count 'em, three-- polls they took on the subject of who uses which smart phone.

earth shattering

Remember when Meet the Press was must-see appointment television? Remember when news was news?

If you don't, if you're too young to recall the "good old days"-- when objective, fair, and honest investigative reporting was valued instead of commercialized "newsotainment" and staged, "balanced"overtalk by the usual cast of characters, augmented by time-wasting trivia-- then you've truly missed out.

Instead, what was once the gold standard of Sunday talk has devolved into polls on congressional cell phone preferences.

Perspective is a good thing. We seem to have lost ours.


ENTIRE VIDEO: Pres. Clinton explains Obamacare. Plus major new study: "Lower than expected" premiums


debunking myths smaller

Yesterday I got very angry at MSNBC and posted this: Dear TV "news": If you hype Bill Clinton's "important" speech on Obamacare, then air it. CNN didn't carry the event at all, and MSNBC talked it up for days only to cut away after about two minutes. Don't even get me started on Fox.

Since TV "news" shows failed to follow through on all their countdowny, breathless promotion of the speech, allow TPC to provide the entire video:

Bill Clinton:

“I have agreed to give this talk today because I am still amazed at how much misunderstanding there is about the current system of health care, how it works, how it compares with what other people in other countries pay for health care.”

Let the debunking continue. Per the Hill, the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation put together data from the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces in the 17 states where it is fully available. Guess what?

A leading health policy research organization reported "lower than expected" premiums for ObamaCare's new insurance exchanges in a major study released Thursday.

Well damn, now Republicans are going to have to concoct all new talking points. Quel drag.

And per Think Progress:

Many Americans will pay even less than the top-line rates after factoring in government subsidies for their health coverage, with some paying nothing at all for crucial medical coverage.

But facts like those likely won't stop the GOP obstructionists and their do-nothing House majority from trying to repeal the plan for the 41st time.

Follow the links for all the details.


Dear TV "news": If you hype Bill Clinton's "important" speech on Obamacare, then air it


wtf moment

For days, MSNBC hyped today's speech on the Affordable Care Act by former President Bill Clinton, AKA the "Explainer in Chief," as the chuckling news dee jays repeatedly refer to him. They reminded us repeatedly how finally-- finally!-- we would be hearing all about the health care reform program in plain, easy-to-understand language.

Finally, they said, it would be "dumbed down" (one host's words) so that even Americans who have been misled, misinformed, or uninformed would understand the benefits of President Obama's plan. We'd hear all about the improved coverage we'll be getting, the options, the online marketplace, the lower premiums, the elimination of denial for pre-existing conditions, the inclusion of preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies, the allowance for coverage of children up to age 26, and on and on.

And finally, the moment was close. MSNBC hyped and frothed and counted down the minutes until the Big Speech. They aired live images of the audience humming in anticipation. They warned their guests that they "could be interrupted at any minute once the president starts speaking."

Wow! This sounds like a Big Build-Up to a Big Speech about Big Important Life-Changing Matters!

And finally, finally, the Big Moment came! The Big Dog started his Big Speech! And just as he was hitting his stride... just as he started explaining "Obamacare" in earnest and in detail...

bamMSNBC cut away.

I scrambled to switch to CNN. No speech. I scrambled again, this time trying to find CSPAN among all the millions of channels on our fancy schmancy Fios cable system. The TV froze. I couldn't switch, I couldn't turn the set off, I couldn't do anything but scream.

When I regained control of my Tee Vee Machine, I flipped back to MSNBC making the faulty assumption that they only cut away for a minute. Wrong. They moved right along to "Now with Alex Wagner" where yet another panel was yet again discussing our impending "surgical attack" on Syria.

So now voters will have received a glut of commentary on another Mideast crisis, but will have not learned anything new about the Affordable Care Act upon which our lives will likely depend.

But thanks for the hype. Now we know what we missed.

And to those of you who are asking why I didn't watch our live stream here at TPC, the answer is simple: I was nowhere near a computer, my hair was dripping wet about to be blown dry, and I was forced to depend on (what is no longer) television "news" [sic] coverage of a major event.


VIDEO-- How to stop the Koch Bros, take power back from corporations: "Reinvent the way media looks and acts."


koch bros murdoch buying newspapers

In November 2012, I wrote BIG problem: Former News Corp. exec expected to head Tribune Co., Rupert Murdoch eyes LA Times, Chicago Tribune.

Back in April, I wrote The Koch Bros., who plan to buy up 8 major newspapers, “see the conservative voice as not being well represented.” Um…:

Think Progress:

Right-wing funders and business industrialists David and Charles Koch may purchase the Tribune Company newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. The brothers are “interested in the clout they could gain through the Times’ editorial pages,” the Hollywood Reporter notes.

Under the circumstances, saying this is a serious concern is an understatement.

I'm an L.A. Times subscriber and if these corporate conservative monsters take over, it would be disastrous. I would immediately cancel my subscription and campaign for others to do the same.

Or I could introduce a lot of people to this. Via Free the Press, Buy the Tribune Company:

Corporate media is ruining the integrity of news. Winning the Tribune Company back might just start moving the tide in a different direction. Consider this an experiment that could have an enormous positive ripple effect for democracy.

Americans have said, time and time again, that they trust public and community media much more than corporate media. What if that extended not just to their radio or TV set but their local paper again?

Together we can make history. Really.

Can't contribute? That doesn't mean you can't help take back the media!

Spread the word, tell your social network on Facebook and Twitter. We're going to need as many people as possible to help out if we are going to meet our goal of raising $660 Million.

Also make sure to like The Other 98% on Facebook for even more opportunities to  bring down the corporatocracy.

Please watch the entire video and then link over, there is much more, including a bunch of cool graphics.