06 February 2006

Does anybody watch the news anymore?

Seriously. I was reading an article about the declining viewership of the network's evening news, and it occurred to me that I did not know who was anchoring any of the major networks. I haven't watched one moment of the network news since the Great Anchor Purge of 2004/5. That is pure coincidence, of course. I watched a bit leading up to the election, then stopped cold afterwards. Now I can't remember the last time I watched.

It's because the TV news sucks. It's superficial, sensationalized, and aften biased, or at the minimum omits important details. How can that be the major source of information for people in the US? Is it still? I can get more information from ten minutes and a newspaper (or five minutes and the internet) than I can from a half-hour broadcast.

I'll watch CNN occasionally, idly, to get the headlines, or maybe channel hop between CNN, Headline News, and MSNBC for a few minutes. But that's pretty rare. I'll very seldom turn them on for the purpose of getting news, and that's only for big events like a pope dying. I never ever watch Fox.

And don't even get me started on the local news.

So what do you watch? Where do you get your information?


  1. I do the same channel-hop for headlines that you do. I will do the serious watch-every-channel-for-five-hours thing for the death of popes and presidents, elections obviously, and major disasters.

    I read CNN.com a few times a day, and I cruise the NYT and the Post a few times a week. If a particular story is not getting a lot of attention, I go to ajr.org and read the local paper for more in depth information.

    As far as local news go, I only watch if it something serious happens in Chicago, like the big hotel fire last year.

  2. I do a bit of channel hopping, but mostly get my news online from CNN.com and various other sources that I tend to find myself on after following blog links. Unfortunately I feel like I have to dig through the sensational and superficial in all news forums and at least I can ignore or not read the sensational headline stuff online.

  3. I refuse to watch the news anymore. It depresses me. I go to cnn.com. At least cnn.com has news on a much larger scale, and less "3 year old gunned down on the south side" news that I really could live without. I also occasionally watch cnn or msnbc.

  4. I got used to not watching television news while in college. Who has time to watch TV in school? At the same time, I got hooked on the New York Times (cheap student subscription rate) and Liam's Chicago Tribune that I would ocassionally steal (even cheaper).

    Nowdays, most of my news comes from NPR and the online version of the NYT. For more in-depth analysis, I read Foreign Affairs. For a different perspective, I listen to BBC (again on NPR) or surf over and read Der Spiegel.

  5. Blogs (and whatever they link to) and NPR. Occasionally I buy the local paper (which is not too bad) and the local Indy paper (which is really progressive and good).

    TV has been pretty much off since Nov.4, 2004 (except for sci-fi channel when mutant animal movies are on and I cannot sleep while my wife is doing her night shift in the MICU).

  6. Blogs and NPR, either live or via podcast. I am somewhat out of touch, but as most of my day-to-day decisions really don't rely on whether Iran has a nuclear weapons program, it doesn't bother me. Most of the main stories I pick up from email or blogs, mainly friends ranting about things. I have never been one to watch the evening news, and right now we don't have dish or cable. My main exposure to TV is at work, which is really just frightening to see what patients are watching with their kids. At least I'm no longer exposed to people watching Montel while in the process of giving birth.

  7. Looks like we're on opposite ends of the political spectrum but in general agreement about the state of network news. I watch Fox News (in small doses), some MSNBC, very rarely CNN (and never CNN Headline), and the local news (often just the first few minutes, to catch the Big Stories, and then the weather). The local paper basically rots - we get the Sat and Sun editions in dead-tree, and I go online (which requires payment too) for the weekday info (it's not really news, by that point - it's recent history). Radio? Occasionally some NPR - the local public radio station frequency is the one my FM-modulator CD changer uses, so I kinda catch a little by accident. The public radio station is worlds better, of course, than the commercial yak-and-babble stations, which get my ears for maybe fifteen minutes a week when a couple of them do their '80's programming. Fox News.com, some MSNBC.com, and current events and commentary blogs, such as Vodkapundit and Instapundit, are my routine info sources.


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