The News Monday Night: My Kingdom For Some Horse Nightly Network News Review


On Twitter — @thisishellradio — I put the over/under on celebrity news stories on the US national nightly network TV news — ABC World News, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News — at two and-a-half. That number was crushed before the opening summary of the top headlines on ABC had ended. They mentioned Beyonce, the Harbaugh brother Super Bowl coaches, and the “real Life ‘Blind Side.’” If the Harbaughs count as two, ABC’s at four in the first 45 seconds.

ABC, CBS and NBC all start with the breaking news on the now dead Alabama bunker gunman who had been holding a kidnapped five year-old for ten days. All the networks grab the excitement of the day by doing what only a network news program can: having a reporter do a live stand-up in front of a meaningless landscape. The networks have their people standing in front of seemingly pointless highways and slow-moving car lots. But they do have good prices on Toyotas at Midltown Motors in Midland City, Alabama.

The Super Bowl obviously dominated tonight’s Media News. If it’s a big media event, to The Media, it’s big news. So what if 22 pro-government Iraqi militia men were killed by a suicide bomb? After all, that war’s over.

ABC anchor Diane Sawyer sums up the Super Bowl first with “Beyonce, blackout and dueling brothers.” I don’t know why that sounds racist to me, but it does. Again, I am not saying Sawyer is racist. I am only saying that this phrase in particular sounds oddly racist to me. It’s a problem with me, not her. It’s just that, man, that sounds racist.

Every so often NBC anchor Brian Williams will drop a pearl of wisdom. Tonight, Williams called New Orleans “a city not for the weak at heart, but worth it while you’re there.” He’s right, too. Especially if that time in New Orleans is done correctly with syringes full of horse tranquilizer. Williams is an animal!

ABC leaves the Super Bowl for a moment (don’t worry, they’ll return to it twice more) and goes to reporter Jonathan Karl on some state’s rules when it comes to gun ownership and mental health checks. Karl goes to Minnesota where he reports on that state’s biggest mass shooting … which took place last September. It would have been great to hear about this mass shooting back in September when it happened, but I get it: mass shootings are so commonplace in the US that even when a state breaks its kill record, that’s not news. Well, at least not for five months. He goes on to say that there were nine mass killings in the last year. I’ve now lost interest in his story on mental health, because I can’t name more than like three 2012 mass killings, and I definitely don’t remember this one in Minnesota. After a little searching, sure enough: in September at Minneapolis’s Accent Signage Company, there was a mass shooting claiming seven lives. This is NOT the worst-ever shooting in Minnesota history, however. In 2006, ten people were killed by gunfire at the Red Lake reservation. I’ve contacted Karl for clarification. If he responds, and he has very thoughtfully in the past, I’ll post what he says.

All the networks really want you to know that the NFL said last night’s super power surge at the Superdome during the Super Bowl won’t hurt New Orleans’ chances of getting another Super Bowl. To The Media News, when New Orleans gets the Super Bowl next is more important than what kind of New Orleans — designed on a Ayn Randian plan of privatized corporate-run for-profit social services and schools — will be next.

When ABC offers tips for those in need of financial help, they have a knack for only giving advice to those who, to be honest, aren’t that bad off. A few months ago, they told viewers who had extra Blackberries and iPods they weren’t using, that they could sell those at some website. Tonight, it’s people who own huge homes and have extra unused bedrooms that they can rent out via a website. Did the homeowners with extra space in a residence I would never have been allowed to own need the money? Yes. Am I saying the residents’ financial situation wasn’t bad? No. It’s just weird that ABC keeps helping out white people who have a lot of unused stuff and space. Oh, I didn’t mention that they’re always white? Well, now I did.

The best part of the financial advice story is when ABC reporter Amy Rorbach finishes and they cut back to anchor Sawyer staring directly into the camera, leaning toward us, repeating the segment’s title, “Real Money,” as if to say this is a real way that anyone can make money. Yeah, anyone with a house that has extra rooms nobody is using. I’d follow the “Real Money” advice, but I can’t go online to post the extra rooms I have at the website they suggested, because I sold all my unused iPads per their previous “Real Money” advice!

ABC’s Sawyer gives the standings for best Super Bowl ads during the always trivial ‘Instant Index’ segment. In first place is the Dodge Ram truck ad loaded with American myth shoveled in by the voice of the late fascist, I mean radio commentator, Paul Harvey. (I love calling Paul Harvey a fascist. It will get a negative reaction every time. People must love them some Paul Harvey.) ABC anchor Sawyer piles on the soiled truck bed of American mythos with, “Here’s to all the farmers in my life, too.” I don’t know what Sawyer means, but all of a sudden I want to produce an anchorperson/farmer porno.

“Excuse me ma’am. Did you order some organic kale?”

It’s basically a pizza delivery porn template. The rest writes itself.

NBC reporter Stephanie Gosk covers the possible discovery of Richard III’s bones in a Leicester parking lot. Gosk wraps the story with, “A parking lot is no place for a king.” This is after she tells us that he murdered his family members and is considered one of the cruelest kings in English history, which is saying something, because the British monarchy has a long history of cruelty.

The Dick the Third story ends both CBS and NBC news while ABC, again, does a story on “the real life ‘Blind Side.’” Oddly, ABC’s owner Disney does not own “The Blind Side”: Warner Brothers does. There’s gotta be some reason why ABC has been milking this story, but I can’t figure out why.

The King Dick Three stories give all the networks the opportunity to fill news time with clips from old movies featuring actors giving the kings famous theatrical and cinematic lines, “Now is the winter of our discontent,” and “My kingdom for a horse.”

Considering that when the networks weren’t replacing news with movie clips they were airing bits of Super Bowl ads and halftime shows, this is definitely ‘the winter of journalism’s discontent,’ and I would give my kingdom for some horse that was clean, pure, didn’t kill me, and made me forget that this is what passes for nightly network TV news in the States.




  • Chuck Mertz

    [CORRECTED] Original post had kidnap victim as a “teen.” Now corrected showing he is a “five year-old.”