From Pine View Farm

All the News that Fits 0

Leonard Pitts, Jr., is fed up with cable news and, especially with CNN.

One struggles to imagine the aforementioned Cronkite, much less the sainted Edward R. Murrow – peace be upon him – selling their newsmen’s souls so nakedly just so their network might charge a little more for toilet paper commercials.

But then, Ed and Uncle Walter have left the building, haven’t they? And yes, maybe they had the luxury of regarding the news as a public service, a sacred trust, consonant with Thomas Jefferson’s belief that an informed electorate was vital to a self-governing nation. But you have no such luxury. What you have is a 24/7 news cycle and the need to fill it – if not with news, then speculation, if not speculation, then controversy, if not controversy then opinion, if not opinion, then froth.

Fine. But this is not a trend without impact, CNN. We are becoming a stupider people. You see it in test scores, but you see it more viscerally in the way some of us equate higher volume with sounder logic, wear party as identity, refuse new information that challenges old beliefs, act as if everything must entertain us. Even the news.

I think the only time I have watched CNN for more than five minutes was when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac over 30 years ago. I was living in Arlington, Virginia, about four miles in a straight line from the crash site; I’d had a grueling drive home in the same snowstorm–about an hour and a half to go 30 miles on I-66 and US 50–from a meeting in Manassas; the boss ended the meeting early because the weather had turned bad. I had to clean ice off my windshield wipers half a dozen times on the way.

The crash was local news and CNN was on top of it.


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