About the Colony

Television’s got him shouting mad

I’ve become a doddering old man who shouts back at the television set, trembling as a result of the ever-increasing babble spilling from the screen, whether it’s news or entertainment.

Maybe what makes me so angry is the disappearing line between news and entertainment.

I never know what’s going to set me off.

For example, I don’t care when close friends announce plans to get married, so I really didn’t care about the engagement of Prince William and his girlfriend, especially as the lead story on network news.

I’m not sure how harmful the WikiLeaks have been, but I grew tired of the national media telling me how serious the leaks were as they continued to report them.

Much like fingernails grinding down a blackboard, I cringe each time I hear all that screaming at the start of the Oprah Winfrey show, especially the antics displayed when Oprah offers to haul her audience to Australia or give them some of her “favorite things.”

Another example is when the TV news reports the anniversary of some event. Recently the newscaster said something like: “None of us will ever forget where we were the night John Lennon died,” or “they changed music forever.” Music changes all the time.

I get equally angry when the TV tries to convince me about what a great actor James Dean was, or Marilyn Monroe or Marlon Brando, as though there will never be anyone to replace them. All three were mediocre at their best.

TV reports as legitimate news each film release and then reports weeks later what a monetary hit it was at the box office. It’s all too closely connected to suit me.

Other shouting outbursts occur when I see the television news cameras intrude on a funeral, whether it’s a nationally known person or a local teen. Television seems stuck in the “good ole’ Joe” syndrome in that every person who dies somehow didn’t deserve to die. We all die. As far as I’m concerned, we’re all equally valuable.

Television loves conflict and disaster and, I am convinced, lives off it. The networks give us 25 minutes of gloom and doom and then pat themselves on their collective backs for some “feel good” story tucked around far too many commercials.

I have a feeling things will only get worse next month when KCET cuts its ties with PBS.

All this makes me hug my newspaper more. I will agree that print journalism carries many of the same news stories as its electronic counterpart, but it does so more quietly and with less hype. You can read what you want and skip the rest. It’s far more informative and generally without spin.

And there’s no shouting.

Maybe it will lead to what fellow columnist Bill Morem suggested last week: the printed newspaper will still be around for at least another 25 years.