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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 2/22/19

Cable TV news: a mere shadow of what it could and should be

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Message Michael Payne

US television news, in particular the cable news channels, are failing the American people by doing a far less than adequate job of informing and educating them on critical issues and problems facing this country. This part of the national media is, indeed, a mere shadow of what it could and should be.

We have the internet, truly one of the wonders of the world of technology, near or at the top of the list of providing information. It is a tremendous educational tool like no other. If one acquires the ability to search the web, using the right keywords, he or she can find almost anything.

But most Americans don't regularly use the internet to inform themselves about day to day happenings in this country, they use newspapers, radio stations, and television, with most of the information coming from television channels.

One of the main reasons for the poor turnout in our mid-term and presidential elections is that a great many Americans are so poorly educated on the most important issues of the day. When they are uninformed it makes it difficult for them to determine who the best candidates are and, as a result, many of them just stay home.

Watching CNN and MSNBC, and yes, even the twisted Fox News, can be very painful as they concentrate the bulk of their reporting on one individual or issue on a given day and then talk about it from early morning to late night. And, very likely, the next and, sometimes the next day.

When it's Michael Cohen in the spotlight that's all we hear all through the day and into the evening. It's nothing but Michael Cohen almost to the complete exclusion of anyone else. One host and his or her guests talk endlessly about what he has done or not done to get himself into trouble, what he might divulge about Trump .

I think I've heard the words witch hunt, hoax, fraud, and no collusion ten thousand or more times in the last two years, as well as the statement that illegal immigrants are criminals, murderers, rapists, and drug dealers. Will this ever end?

Then it's Paul Manafort, then it's more of Trump, Trump, and more Trump. The same former prosecutors and other lawyers go on and on, one sounding much like the other, beating an issue to death. Then there is the ongoing, seemingly endless debate and discussion over Trump's wall. We hear that his national emergency declaration is illegal and against the Constitution, but I don't recall watching any in depth discussion by Constitutional scholars to explain just why.

T his article i s a followup to my previous one from last August entitled "Not "fake news", but too narrow in scope, needing greater depth." The main premise of that article was about how these cable news channels were delivering news to the American people but it was not comprehensive enough. The main point was that they are falling short of delivering in depth reporting. Their choice of issues to present is far too shallow, their presentations are much too repetitious, and becoming very boring.

In that article a number of very important subjects and issues that needed far more discussion were identified, such as the wars in Yemen and Syria. Let's now expand on that and present a wider range of subjects and issues that this media should be covering, but is not.

These cable news channels should mix these issues in with with political news reporting throughout the day. I'm not talking about presenting just one show about an important issues and then it's over and done; we need to see a series of discussions on each one. They don't have to severely reduce political reporting, they and politics can co-exist.

Here are some of them:

Relative to the national infrastructure: how much would a program to repair and rebuild it cost versus going even further and returning this national asset to world class? How many bridges need to be repaired or replaced? What about the condition of waterways, the electrical grid, water delivery and sewer systems, highways, interstates, and other key elements.

How about healthcare. Bring in experts in the field to discuss the many problems with the current system(s), the massive costs, the mountains of paperwork, and high, ever increasing premiums; the potential for a universal healthcare systems such as countries in Europe and Scandinavia have, the pros and cons of the proposed Medicare At 50 program that is gaining many supporters.

Massive inequity of income and wealth in America, millions living paycheck to paycheck, people working two or even more jobs just to make ends meet, to survive. The Trump tax cut to further benefit the wealthy, millions of Americans living below the poverty line, dependence upon food stamps and other forms of governmental help.

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