I have to get something off my chest: I detest cable news. All of it. Television newscasters seem more interested in having their faces seen than giving actual data to viewers to make their own decisions.
I’m not saying news should have no biases, because that would be unrealistic. But I tire of watching television news about polls created by a news channel, which then gets analyzed ad nauseum by newscasters who have no real news to report. If a majority of people feel a certain way about a certain thing, does that make that thing right or wrong? We made that mistake back in the ‘40’s with cigarettes, when everyone thought they were OK. Polls prove only that a pollster can get a group of people to respond to questions. This is absolutely not news - some may call it social science, or politics, but polls by news organizations are not really news.
News is about facts and events, things about which people can take action, prepare themselves, or form their own opinions. I don’t care what some highly-paid newscaster says about politics. I care about what my representatives say in Congress, or what our President says, or what happens in the world. Discussions about what happened and what it means are meaningless. What are these newscasters doing about it? What do they propose? If they say there is a problem, what is the solution? What are the options?
There are far too many “talking heads” who have little to no contact with the reality the average person faces; they cannot understand their problems. They appear to be more concerned about creating a following and increasing their own ratings than they are about making a difference. I don’t care which end of the political spectrum you look at - they appear the same to me. Their commentary speaks more to getting people to listen to some of their sensational reports than actually caring about the people affected by the problem.
Over here, we get cable news. A lot. It gets tiresome, hearing about the trumped-up problems at home when we have a war going on. The political commentary is the worst. We get incessant wrangling and word-fighting instead of intelligent discourse about positive alternatives. It seems to prove that Americans are more interested in hearing bickering than working together to fix problems.
So I have stopped watching news. I watch movies and sports, when I get the time. The news I miss I cannot control or use over here, anyway. Sports is fun to watch. Movies are entertaining. News is neither.
Unfortunately, there are very few newspapers over here. News magazines and newspapers tend to be less sensational and deliver more information. Any more, I get headlines on Yahoo. It’s all the news I can stand right now.
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.