This is an interesting little video put together by the folks over at Slate. It attempts to show how the coverage of the moon landing would be different had it happened this year instead of 40 years ago. The resulting clip is both funny and sad at the same time:
Walter Cronkite just passed away the other day and I think all the reflection on his amazing career made folks realize just how infantile and shallow television news coverage has become in recent times. I think part of that has to do with the advent of 24 hour news channels with their constant struggle to fill the day with enough “news” to keep their ratings up. Back when CNN and Headline News got started they did a pretty good job, but it didn’t take long before competition came along and the Powers That Be realized that shallow infotainment pieces generated a lot more ratings for less cost than more traditional reporting did. It says something when Ted Turner, the man who started both channels, publicly admits he can’t stand to watch them anymore:
On Headline News: “Headline News used to be straight news anytime you wanted it. It’s unwatchable now. It’s heartbreaking.”
On celebrity news: “The media are too busy with Michael Jackson. The greatest fear we could possibly have today is an uninformed electorate. That is what really scares me.”
[…] On CNN: “It will be on in my hospital room when I die. That, or the Cartoon Network. Scooby- Doo has been very good to me.”
Think about that for a moment. Ted Turner puts Cartoon Network on an equal level as CNN as something that he may be watching when he dies. That says a lot about the quality of the news reporting at CNN to me. Not that CNN alone is to blame. FOX News is arguably the most to blame for dragging the quality of the 24 hour news channels down since the day it started. When you combine the shittiness of the current 24 hour news channels with the fact that more and more newspapers are cutting back or folding up shop altogether, well, it doesn’t bode well for a properly informed electorate in the future.
Of course that assumes the electorate has any desire to be properly informed in the first place, which is a whole other can of worms in itself…