I’m not much one for TV. I hate the commercials. But today, due to being trapped in a chair for 30 minutes, without the use of a phone, I was forced to watch news. It reminded me of why I don’t have a TV subscription, even though I love TV shows.
Today, the day before inauguration, Trump was in the news. They kept saying, “Breaking News!” and updating us with the most recent news of his plane landing at Andrews Air Force Base. Let me be clear. It’s breaking news that a man is traveling by plane, and the plane is landing normally. They kept breaking from whatever local news they were talking about to regale us with news of the plane taxiing to a stop, him getting down the steps, and getting into a car. The phrase, breaking news, must mean something different to them than it does to me.
This is one of the reasons that it’s going to be so hard to fix the problems that led to Trump’s election. The news is so starved for actual stories that they will fill the air with almost anything. Someone who’s good at making noise is a natural fit for a medium that requires as much noise as possible. It’s even better if there’s no real substance under the noise. That way, you can just present the noise without context, which is far easier than alternatives. Short of people starting to ignore the news, I don’t see a solution to this. Maybe netflix will come up with something. They’re good at getting eyeballs, and there doesn’t seem to be any negative consequences from them.