Call your cable or dish company.

Who would have suspected that “American Exceptionalism” really meant that everyone in the world would have access to decent, serious, in depth news coverage Except for America?

Let’s face it. American news sucks, regardless of which medium you point to.

The state of the news reporting within the US is disgusting.

Paper based journalism. Surprisingly, there are some decent sources still in print.

I do not mean WaPo, which remains useful on a camping trip in which all your toilet paper has run out, nor even the Grey Lady, who appears ever more senile with each new hire of a new conservative voice.

ChiTrib? Sam Zell should be drawn & quartered,  Tarred & Feathered, hung in effigy, covered with honey and tied down over an African Fire Ant nest.

After that, he should be really punished.

The Tribune, admittedly a conservative paper, used to report real news, in depth, and with serious research. It had foreign correspondents, experts, and great writers on staff. It was financially stable until Sam Zell leveraged with with millions in loans, and stole it blind. Since then, USA Toady has more news than the Trib. It’s not just Chicago. LA and other cities that had Trib company papers all suffered.

There are some news sources, just not many. The Economist is still solid. The Nation kicks butt on a few important subjects. Most science magazines provide news and great reporting. There are even a few small, regional papers that serve their local readership quite well.

Unfortunately, these are the exceptions, not the rule.

Radio?

Most radio outlets are forced to rely on AP. Few of them can support reporters on the street anymore. Here in Chicago, WBBM 780 AM has a handful, ready to cover fires, weather, a new arrest of some politician, etc, but for real reporting, their hands are tied. If you want traffic, sports, a business break, or the headlines, it is fine. But there is no breaking story on radio. Not like it used to do.

The problem is AP. They made a deliberate change from serious news to something weird.

Local TV? In my yute, I remember being barely old enough to walk, yet, watching a black and white news program was truly awesome. 15 minutes of the outside world, brought to me, using some words that I might not get, but that I would learn. Today’s local news may be 30 minutes, but in real time, the time spent on actual news is shorter than 45-50 years ago. Sports, some besotted blond bimbette reading the weather, and a local fire take the vast majority of time.

National news?  Quick! Gag me before I lose another keyboard to vomit.
I don’t understand how they have the nerve to call themselves news programs. News consists of someone reading something, without having a clue about the content. When there is a serious story, instead of reporting on it, you are forced to see one or two opposing “experts” (usually the same stale, politicized players taking opposing roles) blather about the subject without adding any fact or background.

National boredcast news is an embarrassment.

Cable News?
Today’s Huffpost hits the nail on the head. Ryan Grim’s story about the sad state of affairs in cable news is timely and scary.

CNN? Pathetic. How a formerly proud and serious news gatherer turned into a mere shadow of itself, has to be one of the saddest stories in the business. CNN used to cover hot spots, their reporters looked into backgrounds, and informed America. Hell, they informed the world. Until the bean counters took over and turned it into an entertainment center. Simply by firing Wolf Blitzer, I suspect that the average IQ of the remaining 2000 CNN employes  would increase by 10%.

Until and unless they do a massive restructuring of that station, it is doomed to irrelevance, something actually worse than failure.

FOX?  The Rude Pundit once described Fox so accurately, that I still smile at his description.

MSNBC? Also someplace between poor and worthless. Sure, Rachel Maddow and O’Donnell actually give us news and background, but two shows hardly make a cable news station. Take a serious look at their programing. Mourning Joe, Andrea Mitchell, and more – that’s not news, that’s entertainment! And not very good entertainment, either.

There has been one company that has kicked ass on coverage, and here in the colonies, the only place to see them is on the intertubes. Al Jazeera.

I suggest that you contact your cable provider (if you have one, and ask them to add Al Jazeera to your program menu.

Somehow, I suspect that the added competition would serve us better than any girl or boycott. Existing news providers would realize that news really is important to us.

Here is ATT’s number. I will edit and add other providers if you give me that information.800 288 2020

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