I just got mad at a chyron. (Which I think was originally a minor Greek god who announced short summaries of things best listened to in full as pronounced by major Greek gods.) It was on CNN, the video was of House minority leader Nancy Pelosi speaking, and I have no idea what she actually said because the volume on the TV was low and I was actually busy paying for lunch. But the text under her face was something like “PELOSI DOWNPLAYS RESULT OF NEW YORK PRIMARY.”* I fake-screamed, “Why doesn’t she support ALL Democrats! She’s the leader, it’s her JOB!”
The woman taking my money just nodded and tried to stay out of it.
Mind, I have no idea what Pelosi was saying. All I know is what some video editor type at CNN thought was the main story. As I walked away, I realized what I had done, and I felt more than a bit sheepish though no one else seemed to care.
There are so many problems with the news business in America. I was about to add “today,” but the complaints I would make are the same as those that surfaced in the days of William Randolph Hearst in the late 1800s, and they probably were not new then. We think there was some halcyon time when the news sources could be trusted as not only impartial but unhyperbolic. If something serious happened, you could trust it was serious, because newspapers were not overplaying EVERYthing. And if they said some politician had a concern about something, you could rest assured that politician did, and that the news source was not trying to peddle a narrative that would bring them more eyeballs whether it was true or not. They have, in fact, never not peddled a narrative that would bring them more eyeballs.
Consumers, of course, eat this stuff up with a big spoon. We need our news fast, and we always want to be entertained. If the story was a party leader saying “We are happy for so-and-so and we look forward to helping her win and working with her in the next Congress,” that would probably be dull, even if that’s what a party leader should say on the day after a primary. And it would be impossible to hear all that when you’re standing in line at the company cafeteria paying for a tuna sandwich.
All I can do is remind myself to be a more careful consumer of news, and to perhaps ignore the news when I cannot be that more careful consumer, because in the latter case it’ll just distract and inflame me, and I need a lot less random distraction and inflaming over half-understood crap.
* https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/nyregion/joseph-crowley-ocasio-cortez-democratic-primary.html if you want background.