Friday, 30 September 2011

Old habits

Robert Dougall - from

Old habits die hard they say, and it's true. Over the past few years, my long-established routine of watching the TV news has finally faded away. I now prefer the vastness of the internet and slowly but surely my TV news intake subsided to the point where I now see it as nothing more than an old habit . When six o'clock struck I'd automatically click the TV remote to see what was going on in the world - but not any more.

When I look back on how long I've used TV news as a source of information, it's not surprising it took a while before I finally wriggled free of the habit, before I realised how limited and limiting it is, how paternalistic and dated. Yet TV news still commands prime spots at 6pm and 10pm. Who still watches I can't imagine, but change is bound to take time I suppose, unless the TV stations think of something better, which doesn't seem likely. I mean it's not as if they're imaginative is it?

The sight of middle-class news-readers reading a list of selected items from an autocue now seems a little quaint to me. Not desperately weird, just old-fashioned and out of kilter with the modern world. Efforts to update things by getting the presenter to stand don't come over well either, not to my jaundiced eye.

Yet all TV channels seem to have their traditional news slots. Is it a legal requirement or something? Why do they bother? They may as well use CGI and automate the whole process. Surely it's technically possible. Get Homer Simpson to read the news off an internet feed. Mind you - I might be drawn back into it then.


rogerh said...

The News, a punctuation mark in an evening of dire television. A pointer as to whether to open another bottle or hang on till bedtime. On a typical evening one needs to be hammered until 8:30pm or later when there might just be an interlude between cook shows and chav contests. I wonder if this is a subtle way to kill off the retired though alcoholism?

David Duff said...

I rarely sit down to 'watch the news' as I used to. Instead I have Sky News running all day but with the sound off. Thus, I can keep half an eye on it as I pass by (in case WWIII breaks out without them telling me) and I can read the ticker-tape rather than listen to the waffle.

Sam Vega said...

I suspect it has something to do with reassuring the viewers. The pleasant illusion that a group of apparently intelligent people who know about economics and governance and suchlike are scanning the flow of events and letting us all know what might turn nasty.

The recent proliferation of media and reflexivity has led to us realising that the news is subjective, biased, and mainly bullshit. I can't help wondering, however, whether major news broadcasters have actually got worse.

Best recent example: the mighty Robert Peston praising that scamming fantasist who claimed to be a city trader. Delicious. All that opinionated gravitas about economics, politics, science, etc., and mostly it turns out to be a pile of piss.

A K Haart said...

rogerh - a subtle way to kill off the retired though alcoholism? Well it's working with me.

DD - only one more step to go then :)

SV - I agree, I think there is a "reassure the viewers" angle to it. I wonder how old they are on average?

James Higham said...

Not having a TV [my last one was stolen in Russia around 1997], I can well do without it and the internet has grown to the point where all the news services are fine. It's quick and immediate.

A K Haart said...

JH - I don't think we'd bother with a TV now if we didn't already have one.