Niagara Gazette — The cast of the late, great Channel 7 Eyewitness News team, Irv, Rick and Tom, and they’ll tell you they had a great time, drew standing ovations at their roll down memory lane before a packed house last week at the Buffalo History Museum; if you’re old enough you’ll remember “Buffalo Blazebusters” and “pistol packing punks” and all that foolishness that was the opening shot in the process of dumbing down the news, making it entertainment and laughs. And yes, I watched it back then.
Station managers will tell you news broadcasts need to be moneymakers, which is why half the time allotted to news is actually advertisements, and those precious five minutes tacked on at 11:30 p.m., delaying Jimmy and Dave and Jimmy, are all advertisements. There was a time when 30 minutes of television gave me news I could use; these days, only the weather forecast is actual information of any value. The rest, like sports information, I either know already, or do not need.
Funny, 15 minutes with a newspaper, or 10 with the Internet, actually informs me.
Except perhaps for the Weather Channel, ESPN and several channels dedicated to financial affairs, no one in television seems willing to pump information of any value into me, and each of them has its limits. Even NBC’s mastodon “Today” show admits it has always offered news mixed with entertainment (and I go back to the days of Dave Garroway), but all I see there is fun! Showbiz fun! Fooling around fun! A great way to start the day!
If you think the newspaper business is somewhere between dramatically reinventing itself and crashing and burning, you likely learned it via television. The television business doesn’t tell you about its aging and declining audiences, desperate ratings maneuvers, taking its cues from movies and short-staffing its newsrooms.