Sorting out the news

[Cross posted from Game Theorist] Tonight’s home work assignment for the 6th grader was to watch 30 minutes of election coverage. You gotta love a school system that assigns TV — especially on the presumption that you have cable. I’m not being sarcastic. I was really excited. I just love TV and love the idea that I can watch while parenting.
This was all about the Massachusetts special Senate election which had completely sucked up all advertising in this state — radio, tv and internet. Indeed, they must have maxed out the Google bids. Chances are, if you are in Massachusetts you can still see ads on this blog!
The question was where to get our 30 minutes. Fox News would surely be entertainment value but it wasn’t what I wanted her bringing to school. CNN proved to sparse on details. I switched when Wolf Blitzer said (and I am not making this up): “The one thing we do know is that the polls have closed in Massachusetts.” Oh good. And then there was MSNBC which I had figured would be more to our political liking but that just had some guy named Keith Oberman whose primary job was to report and then belittle (I guess with reason but he looked like a doofus) three Fox news commentators who at the very least were more famous than he was. So she was exposed to lunacy all around anyway.
In the end, I decided that we would make the best of this and watch the Daily Show.
Suffice it to say, she learned more in this 10 minutes than from the mainstream news and in a far more even handed manner.

You know this is one area where, I guess somewhat surprisingly, I would have had a better time with Australian television. Those from the US would be surely interested to learn that the one 24 hours news network, Sky News (owned by Rupert Murdoch) would have been something I would have been happy to show my daughter for actual news reporting. Sadly, the school has never asked us to watch it.

3 thoughts on “Sorting out the news”

  1. CNN used to be similar to Sky News in Australia, with fairly even-handed reporting and commentary.  When Fox News came along and started getting better ratings with their “infotainment” style of coverage, CNN unfortunately followed.
    Now there are three major 24-hour news infotainment networks, Fox on the right, CNN in the middle and MSNBC on the left.  I find all three unwatchable.
    If you want decent news coverage, you can get it from the major networks’ 6 o’clock news.  It’s about of the quality you get from Sky in Australia.  Better yet, you can set your Tivo to the Newshour on PBS.  It’s has excellent news coverage and we are lucky to get it here in Australia on SBS.


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