Just curious, for those of you paying attention...

When did the NewsHour become unwatchable?

Was it a gradual process? Or did it happen overnight?

I think I tried tuning in a few times last November but couldn't get into a routine of watching it every day. I tried again over the past ten days or so. There's something really tedious about the amount of time being spent discussing Trump's extramarital affairs and while I expect that sort of thing from the for-profit networks, well, it's not that I even hold PBS to a higher standard as much as I don't enjoy watching people who act as if they have already achieved this higher standard failing to achieve said standard and not noticing. Or maybe my standards are wrong. It's not talk bullshit yes, talk bullshit no, but talk bullshit how. Talk bullshit to who.

(I tend to think that the moral corruption that people are locating in Trump is actually found in said people's own willingness to gossip about him behind the veil of moral superiority. And you may be saying to yourself, well, it's not about the sex, it's about the money, it's about the contracts, the lawyers, the shady dealings, but those things are made necessary by the gossip, by your gossip, not the other way around. It's not that I like Trump. Let's just say instead that I remember the 2000s. I remember how pathetic it was when W. Bush was dropping literal bombs on people and other people were like: haha he mispronounces words and I don't.)

I tried watching PBS on election day in 2016. That was the worst. The overuse of demographics in predicting and describing the results of elections got me more than a bit angry. What's weird about people who are into a certain type of identity politics is that they seem to find it perfectly satisfactory to talk like: women will vote this way and men this way and if you are a Spanish-speaking first-generation immigrant you must do this unless you were born between years X and Y and then you will probably do this other thing but if you are black you have no choice at all regardless (of whether slavery three hundred years ago or Ethiopia in 2005) and why didn't you do what I said to do after all I am one of you and you are supposed to do what I say because we are all the same, aren't we (except that I get to be on TV and disappointed with you and you don't)?

I wish I could write that last paragraph better. Anyways.

When did the NewsHour become unwatchable?



mistah charley, ph.d. said...

i have not noticed a particular inflection point on the news hour, so i cannot answer your specific question

on a somewhat related point, i do recall a definite event associated with losing my faith in npr - this was during the bush-cheney regime - they interviewed john yoo - he of 'it's ok to kill a terrorist's child in front of him if you really need to' - in a very straight-faced way, without presenting contrasting viewpoints - i knew then that i had to give up my idea that npr was essentially different from the corporate media

on moral corruption - as jesus said, corruption must come, but woe to him through which it comes

i really like todd rundgren's song 'change myself'


mistah charley, ph.d. said...

moral corruption is the main theme of edward luce's op-ed column in the financial times today

specifically, he states that the US and UK, by allowing anonymous ownership of property, enable putin and his oligarchs - among other world-class criminals - to stash their stolen fortunes overseas, where they will not be confiscated after a regime change - whereas they would NOT be safe in russia, e.g.

:-p said...

Ugh. John Yoo. Those were certainly "interesting times". Given 9/11 and all the death the America brought to the rest of the world afterwards, I find myself feeling a little queasy in admitting that I find myself a bit nostalgic for the years 2001-2008. I felt engaged in a way I haven't since, and I get the impression that my feelings are not unique.

Maybe it's because I was younger, maybe because I liked the popular music of the times more, maybe it's because the Internet hadn't affected quotidian ontology to the degree it does today, but maybe it's also because, warmongering editorials notwithstanding, the American news media wasn't as content to perpetuate American solipsism as it is now.

I guess for those of us who understand that the world is bigger than ourselves, there's always something that triggers this realization. For me, it was a lot of things: music, especially electronic, travel, foreign films, and, especially, the foreign coverage that used to dominate many broadcasts of the NewsHour when I was growing up. It's not only that I care about what is going on outside of Trump's White House. I guess, perhaps both selfishly and unselfishly, I long for a feeling of connection to something beyond my own daily drudgery.

This era of capitalism is really failing to provide a socially-useful place for excess capital, isn't it? I mean, that's the theme that ties it all together - overvaluation of Internet companies, the real estate bubble, the skyrocketing rents partially caused by unoccupied residences being treated as investments, credit default swaps, art sitting in storage lockers, etc.

Even if I, a relatively book person, wanted to be a capitalist in my own small way, wanted to take advantage of the wonders of compound interest, I don't have any sense of how to make my money make money, given the low yields on so many forms of non-risky investment. I always chuckle when I read some concerned-voice article on the lack of savings amongst the vast majority of the American populace - as if interest rates make having a traditional savings account worthwhile, as if setting aside money is even "healthy" in a shopping-based economy. Though I'm not sure we're really in a consumer society anymore. I don't think that the people who have money are really in any dependent on my spending what little I have.

:-p said...

"book" should be "broke" above...