No News May Be Better

When I was growing up, we had family dinner.  Not Walton’s family dinner, or Eight is Enough family dinner – there was no chit chat, no revelations, no drama.  We ate, and we watched the local evening news.  The lead story was always a fire.  A warehouse is burning, a tractor trailer is aflame on the highway, smoke is roaring through an apartment complex.  Fire, that was the big story.
Then, if there wasn’t a fire to report on -and, really – there was always a fire – a church, a car, a backyard leaf fire, if nothing else, the reporter could always light a cigarette and set a garbage can on fire.  In any event,  there was always weather as a fall back.  An approaching storm, inches of rain, record breaking temperatures.  Like Jane Austen advises, if you have nothing nice to say, confine your comments to the weather.

So, I don’t expect much from the local evening news – at this point, all I want to know is is it going to snow? and is Donovan McNabb finally going to get the boot?   But, really, that’s my issue – I’m sure there are many out there who think that there can be truth in reporting, that our local newscasters are striving for something a little more than mediocrity, and that  covering the health care debate, the wars in the Middle East, etc., is still an essential function of even our local news.

So, taking into consideration my obviously low expectations, and an optimists unreasonably high expectations, the newscast should land somewhere in the middle, right?  It should hit about mediocrity, shouldn’t it? 

Well, you be the judge —

Last night, I sat down to watch the 11:00 NBC10 news.  Ok, you don’t want to cover a fire – fine.  The shooting on Dorrance Street?  Ok, you don’t want to lead with local crime, so be it.  So, Renee Chenault Fattah, married to a congressman, what’s your lead?  That the President of the United States was right here in our area last night, plugging away at his health care plan?

Nope.  Facebook.  Idiots who put their ridiculous photos online, only to have someone snatch them, and  – can you hear the beat of the sympathy drums – post them elsewhere only to make fun of them.  Gasp!   The lead story, which lasted a good five minutes, was some idiot woman, by anyone’s measure, overweight, who had posted pictures of herself ONLINE, scantily clad, in ridiculous outfits, eyeing her camera with “come hither” looks.  Really?  We’re supposed to feel bad for this woman for forgetting to check the box that clearly pops up every time you post a picture on Facebook about photo privacy and who can see your pictures.   But, the bottomline is – they are ONLINE – they are accessible by anyone who wants to see them – there is no such thing as online privacy.   Everytime you post a picture, the question should be – could my boss see that?  And if the answer is yes, ok, post it, and if the answer is no you’re just an idiot.  And this blog that highjacked her pictures – Philly Burn?  Does she really think that the exposure on Philly Burn is greater than the exposure of being on NBC10?  So whoever you really didn’t want to see them before, certainly has seen them now – because you put them on the local news.  So, the only news there really is that Channel 10 got snookered, because she is clearly proud of those pictures, and wanted the widest audience she possibly could to see them. 

And what could possibly follow that story?

The President at Immaculata University, right?

Nope.  People who wanted butt lifts, but instead had some chemical injected into their butts that gave them infections – something like window filler – I can’t give you accurate reportage about the story, because by then we were already actively comparing the NBC10 telecast to the 6ABC telecast, and in the time it took NBC10 to report on Facebook idiocy, and rotted butt injections, 6ABC had covered the shooting on Dorrance Street, the death of a medic, and the burglarly of a church for its copper piping, and the President’s visit.  That’s not to say 6ABC didn’t have it’s feel good story – suburban teenagers addicted to heroin – but at least they got some actual news in there before they got to the meat of their telecast.

And what’s up with NBC10’s good news segment?  I don’t even know what the regular time is – but it’s a half hour a day, and it seems like its on whenever I turn on the t.v.  For a half hour, they only report “good” news.  Good news, bad news – really, aren’t you just supposed to report the news – the days events – and let others be the judge of whether it’s good news or bad news?  And, a half hour a day – that’s 2.5 hours of what NBC10 dubs “good” news a week – 2.5 hours of kids with cancer to promote fundraising, maimed animals rescued from animal shelters to promote fundraising, and maybe a few minutes adorable adoptable children, again to promote fundraising.  If they want to do a telethon, just call it what it is, and don’t put it on the “news.”

And what does that make the happenings of the rest of the telecast – the bad news hour?  Good news, bad news – just tell me what happened today, ok?


  1. Lisa March 10, 2010

    AMEN, sister! I actually would rather know about what is going on in the world and my city, then the bullshit feel good filler.

  2. robin March 10, 2010

    I saw that report and thought the same thing! If she was so upset about being on a website, why show the pictures on TV? And, I’m sorry but seriously? Those photos were just awful.

  3. Laura March 12, 2010

    Actually “good news” ends up being a positive spin or resolution of “bad news.” Kid dies of cancer, but raises thousands for research. Family isn’t slaughtered by gun-toting home invaders because the traumatized 6 year old calls 911.

    Certainly the local network’s choice of lead story has a lot to do with the demographic they’re trying desperately to reach but won’t. 18 to 35 isn’t eating a “Law and Order” news.. “Jay Leno” sandwich.


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