Tuesday, April 13, 2010

injaynesworld we are "Hooked On Junk Food TV..."

I recently received this very astute comment from my friend, Fragrant Liar:

“I find it curious that the people making the biggest splashes in 'news' are the people who are sensationalist grubbers with or without the media's help. But I detest that these unimportant, valueless people are given more headlines than the actual worth-knowing, worth-paying-attention-to news. It's like we as a group and the media are obsessed with crap, the stinkier the better. We are like flies.”

It got me thinking, which is always a dangerous sign… Why are we so hooked on junk food TV?  

I like a little celebrity gossip as much as the next person, but these days it sometimes seems just plain impossible to get away from.  As a child, I recall the TV being called the “boob tube” -- back when it actually was a tube -- but never has that term been so accurate as now.

While few people admit to actually watching these shows, clearly we do and en masse or else these media “stars” would not continue to be plastered all over the television and magazine covers. 

I don’t think anyone can blame Obama for this one, although I’m sure Sarah Palin would give it her best shot. 

How did we get here?   Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane…

Not that long ago, there were separate news divisions at the TV networks and they weren’t expected to make money.   Networks regarded these news divisions as their crown jewels and took great pride in them.  For those of us who recall watching real news shows with journalists like Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, we knew theirs were voices we could trust and, generally speaking, we were a pretty well-informed society. 

Back then there was also something called the "Fairness Doctrine” and it required all broadcasters to devote some of their airtime to discussing controversial matters of public interest and to air contrasting views regarding those matters.  It didn’t require equal time for opposing views, just that contrasting viewpoints be presented.

This was a pretty cool thing, especially if you lived in an area of the country where broadcast signals were limited, because you could still be sure that what you were getting was a fair view of what was going on and not just what that particular broadcaster in your area wanted you to hear. 

During the Reagan administration the Fairness Doctrine was abolished, along with a whole slew of regulations that limited the ability of any one corporation to acquire a monopoly of broadcast and news media. 

What followed was a takeover of the three major networks by multi-national  conglomerates whose sole purpose was to squeeze profits out of every aspect of their holdings.   They had no interest in a well-informed American public.  In fact, the less we knew about what was really going on, the better.  They still like it that way. 

Suddenly, the autonomous news divisions were incorporated into the networks’ entertainment divisions and voila – we now have a complete blur between what is news and what is entertainment.   In this week’s Sunday Recap, I reported that Glenn Beck himself stated that Fox was not a news entity.  It was an entertainment entity. 

And so we find ourselves where we are today, with very little choice in real news programming, despite the explosion of 24-hour “news” stations -- insatiable beasts that must continually be fed.   The result:  Junk Food TV

Not coincidently, these same multi-national conglomerates that own all our TV networks also own most of our major newspapers and magazines.   Is anybody seeing a pattern here?

So… Why do we continue to watch and buy the very crap we profess so strongly to be disgusted by?    Not really so hard to figure out, is it.   A starving man will eat what’s put in front of him.

And now injaynesworld returns to our regular programming of nipples and asses…

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