Letter to the editor

Put real news back on the air: One college student’s criticism of modern network TV

Dear editor,

“Television is not the truth. Television is a goddamned amusement park.” – Howard Beale, from the film Network

I have a confession to make to all of you. I hate watching the news. I know this sounds weird, especially coming from a future journalist, so perhaps let me clarify this situation. I hate network news. It doesn’t matter if it is from CNN, MSNBC, or even that home of the so far to the right they are in a ditch somewhere on the road, Fox News. I even hate the local news outlets from Cleveland, and my reasons are simple, the main one being there is no real news on any of them!

Now you may ask me “Steve, I think there is a lot of news going on. How can they not be covering the real stuff?” Well Billy, Joe, Bob, Danny, Frank, get the car key out of your ear and your head out of the undercarriage of that S-10 and I’ll tell you. Why don’t you count how many times have you heard on the news about Britney Spears or those polygamists in Texas and compare it to the real issues such as the economy or Bush suspending Habeas Corpus? Can’t count on one hand? That’s okay; most Americans can’t. The media has become a whore for celebrities and not the real world issues that I am interested in.

When does it become news when Britney Spears goes nuts and locks herself in her house, and why, most of all, does it interrupt something more important? I can remember in the summer of 2007 when I heard on MSNBC that they were interrupting a press conference to talk about Paris Hilton going to jail. I was like “What? Why does that whore need more attention than our government? What kind of job does she have that makes her more important than the White House?” I can tell you why they covered Paris instead of our government. Because the media has become controlled by big corporate outfits and since Bush might be cozy with these corporations (I cannot confirm this so do not take this as fact) they don’t want the people to get smart. Why? Because smart people are dangerous to some and if a smart person finds the truth they may not be able to handle it. This is why we get bull crap stories like Paris or Britney or some other starlet. It is why we get stories about polygamist cults, whose members sound like automatons programmed by their slime ball of a lawyer. It is why in Cleveland the main story in 2007 was the NBA playoffs and their recommendation that “If you see a celebrity in Cleveland during the game take a picture and share it with us,” and not reporting the facts about our government in Ohio or elsewhere. It is why more people like me are switching off our sets and picking up our laptops for news or just turning on our Nintendo DS and escaping. There are many people who feel like I do. People who don’t give a rat’s ass about Paris and Britney, who yearn for the days when our media could be trusted and not just a purveyor of bull crap. It’s all about ratings just as Paddy Chayefsky predicted in the film Network. Maybe we should take Howard Beal’s advice and say we are “Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!”

Steven Shroyer

Newspaper journalism major