I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers1 that had the quote: Cable news is basically ESPN for politics, but with fewer ethics and higher stakes. – Skyler Baker-Jordan. It resonated with me in a week where I was working, traveling, and yet immobilized watching Serena compete in the US Open.
With ESPN (ESPN 2, ESPN Plus…), you find your sport, your lane and you can stay there. You can be unaware that anything else exists. It may take you a while to find your track, but once you do, you are home. News is much the same, find your provider and you are home.2 Is that enough? Is that the right approach? Sports is entertainment and if you play that sport, watching is also educational. But what about news? Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Yet, what passes for news now is more info-tainment.
What is news? This week, I was in Salt Lake City at the Capital Theater. As we waited in the basement, someone mentioned the building was said to be haunted. In the context of this discussion, would you call that news? You can Google and find stories, the theater was featured on an episode of NBC’s Paranormal Witness, season two. Info-tainment. It’s information, not necessarily news. Yet, there is this blurred area where information is presented as news and news which is presented as opinion. This week, consider what you call “news” and how you get it.
2Disclaimer: I don’t watch the news. I listen to NPR and read the New York Times and the Washington Post. No judgement, just fact.