I was watching CNN Sunday while using the elliptical. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Watching CNN, not using the elliptical. Unfortunately. Anyway, I’m watching CNN and the woman on there, Fredericka Whitfield, was anchoring the weekend news. They had a bit on there about the Libyan woman who burst into the International hotel where the press have been staying and claimed that she had been beaten and raped by 14 Libyan soldiers. That’s a whole story in and of itself and you should click on that last sentence and read it if you haven’t already heard about it. Absolutely brutal.
Slight digression, but it plays into my point: if you click on “World” from their home page and look down, the first mention of this story is that a CNN reporter faced a gun and had his camera smashed!
OMG! Right? That poor reporter! I mean, honestly, that should be part of the story, but it’s more like a sentence or two in the story, not the bleeding headline! And, really, this is a big deal for that woman and a good story to really remind all of us what godawful things happen in war and are happening in Libya…
… but it’s still just a story about a woman. One woman. It’s awful, horrible, but, in reality, it’s human interest. It’s not the story. It’s perfect for illustrating how the Libyan government is abusing it’s citizens, how far they will go to hide the truth. Did you know that the press is NOT ALLOWED to leave the hotel without permission and not without a government “minder” either. No freedom of press at all in Libya. So, the story is important but it’s not THE story.
So, Ms. Whitfield is anchoring and I’m listening to her seque between stories and go to the weather and whatnot and it struck me. It’s like she’s talking to children. I didn’t feel like she was talking to me. It was like she was addressing a class of middle-schoolers. And, it wasn’t just her. The weather woman did the same thing (I didn’t get her name and don’t feel like researching to find it out). Then, another woman came on to do a segment with Ms. Whitfield and, I forget what they were talking about, but they cut to some video where the woman in the video said something about men doing obnoxious things, including farting. When they come back, Whitfield is giggling and can’t stop. She can’t even do the next story and they cut to commercial.
Okay, to be fair, we’ve all been there where something strikes you and you gotta giggle and can’t stop and it gets worse when you try to stop. Fine. But, on the other hand, you’re on CNN. Yemen, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, et. al. are in various stages of revolution and people are dying. Japan is still in the throes of dealing with one of the biggest earthquakes and tsunami’s in history, and is probably dealing with a nuclear plant meltdown. But, you’re giggling about farts?
But, it got me to thinking… A lot of the news anchors talk to us like we’re children. Does that work? I know this is going to be a big shock to you, but I enjoy listening to NPR. Honestly, between reading blogs and Twitter for news, that’s my main source for fiding out what’s going on. Most broadcast news, like CNN and the local newscasts, is really just newsy entertainment. When there’s a huge, breaking story, I think CNN is probably the best place to go. But, if I want real information, I need to go on the ‘net or to Twitter or NPR.
And, that’s weird to me. I mean, with the stuff that passes for news on Fox News Channel, it’s weird that people don’t realize they’re being pandered to.
Okay, so I’m getting preachy. But, it was just a weird moment to me. I kept waiting for Whitfield to say, “Wow, like the stuff in Libya is just awful. Poor widdle woman just having awful, yucky things happen to her. Yucky! Let’s think happy thoughts now.” Is it just me? Do the news anchors have to talk like that? Do we really require our news to be entertaining? Isn’t it enough to be informed?