If you feel like you can’t get what you need from commercial television via a nightly newscast or the 7-24 news channels anymore, there’s a good possibility that you aren’t alone. According to more than one source, the ratings of CNN and MSNBC combined don’t equal the ratings of FOX.
It’s not like they aren’t trying. The guy who is now running CNN, brought in Bill Maher, to try and bump up their numbers with some comic relief. Which is what it’s all about. Better ratings bringing in higher paying commercials. That’s why it’s called “commercial television.” That’s why American tv switched in a comparative blink of an eye from “family tv” shows to shows targeting young women and mothers and then finally teens as their prime demographic. More profitable commercials. Plenty of disposable income and superstores loaded with lots of crap to spend it on.
Point is, a whole lot of us are not in anybody’s target demographic or “demo” as the sales guys like to call it. At least that’s what they called it when I was still in the biz.
All of it has left some of us behind, grateful that the BBC, France24, Sky News and Al Jazeera are out there on streaming video, providing us with some variety of actual world and national news and not just the latest on Trans M&M’s, which politician inadvertently left classified documents stashed away in the bathroom at his beach house or how many murders there were in the inner-city over the weekend.
The networks keep hammering away on the same two or three stories again and again, day after day, and they wonder why their ratings are dropping? What we used to refer to as giving our viewers a “balanced diet” of news and information has been transformed into turning the news into whatever some executive thinks might get a better number. Meaning, friends and neighbors, we are now just inches away from Sybil the Soothsayer as portrayed in the prophetic movie “Network.”
In desperation, and thanks in no small part to Los Angeles radio personality, Ken Minyard, I found some relief. The place to go, is to that magic podcast button on your smartphone or streaming video device.
I follow Minyard on Facebook, so I knew he and his son, Rick, had started a podcast, but I had never listened to it because I just never got into listening to podcasts all that much. I grew up with Sky King, Mr. Greenjeans and Edward R. Murrow and old habits, like turning on the 6 o”clock news and expecting the news to be there, are hard to break. Then, the other day, Ken Minyard mentioned something about Keith Olbermann’s podcast on Facebook.
Olbermann’s departure, left a giant hole in the MSNBC lineup – one that has not been adequately filled – and so, I found his “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” podcast refreshing. It’s not like he’s back on MSNBC, which is where he should be and would be if the people running the place had the courage to overcome whatever political nonsense led to his departure, but at least he’s there in cyberspace with a podcast, providing a voice, a point of view, that’s badly needed.
I’m also now a listener of the “Minyard & Minyard Do a Podcast.” Again, they provide a point of view that is needed and is no longer being provided by our commercial media, because, apparently, they no longer have the courage and (or) common sense to provide it. Apparently they’re afraid those on the right will yell about big media giving a megaphone to those on the left, and, as we all know, those on the right feel they’re the only political entity deserving of any voice at all. Bringing us to our current situation – a general condemnation of anyone with the courage and intellect to search for the truth and then report it out. Even if that means infuriating those on the right, many of whom can’t handle the truth and would rather hear about space lasers and Hunter Biden’s laptop and any other claptrap Fox News happens to be promoting because it gets them a big number.
Is denying the truth because some on one side or another find it to be objectionable a valid reason to avoid it altogether? Or is pursuing the truth and reporting it out – “telling it like it is” as we used to say – still a worthy goal regardless of whatever impact it might have on an outlet’s profits?
If money matters more than the truth, then the truth will go begging, leaving us all ignorant and at the mercy of a relative handful of wealthy tyrants who care only about growing their wealth.
If you’re disappointed in what used to be called television, if you feel defeated in your search for the truth, feeling MSNBC and CNN which has just brought a professional comedian on board, are coming up short on what you need, then you might try podcasts. There are plenty of them out there, and some, like Minyard & Minyard, don’t have any commercial announcements, so they don’t have to worry about losing advertisers should they offend someone’s delicate sensibilities. Others, like Keith Olbermann, will give you what he sees as the best available version of the truth regardless of what any advertiser might think, which could be why he is no longer on the air at MSNBC. Or maybe someone who is still there is afraid he’d be too popular? Either way, they need to put Keith, back on the air. Until then, he has a podcast. But you’ll have to look for it.