4 weeks ago
The News Wednesday Night: Trivial Pursuit Nightly Network News Review
There’s actual news on the Boston Marathon bombing that’s worth reporting. I know, I’m shocked, too.
All three networks start their nightly news with the story of bombing suspect Zhokar Tsarnaev’s college friends being arrested for hiding evidence, lying to the cops, and, thus, interfering with an investigation. Yet, even in this story, the nightly news outlets can find the trivial. CBS Evening News correspondent Elaine Quijano describes how the three new defendants appeared in court. Quijano tells us the important information that two are in handcuffs, while the third is in both handcuffs and shackles. NBC Nightly News reporter Pete Williams has even more important news than how the three are cuffed. Williams informs us that the three joined Zhokar shooting fireworks on the shores of the Charles River last year. If Williams is implying that fireworks are a gateway drug to terrorism, half of Chicago’s north side should be in Gitmo.
ABC World News then pulls a Tsarnaev on Benghazi. Anchor Diane Sawyer shows images of three men who are believed to have been part of the violence that left US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stewart dead. Sawyer tells us that authorities want help in identifying and finding the three men. Well, unless Libya gets ABC, I seriously doubt anyone in the World News Tonight audience can assist in this video manhunt.
ABC then moves on to the weather. Anchor Sawyer calls what the US is currently experiencing “surreal weather” out of “The Twilight Zone.” However, there’s one thing that neither Sawyer nor correspondent Ginger Zee call it: “climate change.” Yes, rest of the world, the US is still knee-deep in denial of global warming. Sure, our nightly news will report on extreme weather events, but will they link it to climate change? Not while EnergyTomorrow.org keeps running fossil fuel ads promoting fracking.
NBC correspondent Kelly O’Donnell then covers the blowback from Congress’s killing of gun control legislation. O’Donnell goes to New Hampshire, where she sees Republican Congresswoman Kelly Ayotte being berated by locals at a town hall meeting. O’Donnell even compares the heat of the event to Tea Party confrontations with politicians during the heady days of the Obamacare fight. Don’t worry, NRA. That Tea Party effort didn’t stop Obamacare, and this won’t bring about new gun control. O’Donnell reassures us that this is the case, by saying, “There’s not enough political motivation to bring this back up anytime soon.” Good to know that politicians are not motivated by direct interactions with their constituencies.
NBC reporter Stephanie Gosk covers the case of abortion doctor Kermit Goznell. Goznell has been accused of some disgusting things. Gosk alludes to nightmarish allegations but, sensitively, does not describe them. Gosk eventually does tell us that some of the charges include a baby being delivered in its third trimester and then murdered. This story has been making the rounds all over the right wing blogosphere. The anti-choice crowd feels this story is indicative of the horrors at all abortion clinics. The right has even been arguing that the left-wing media has been avoiding the story, as it shows the true evil of abortion. What are not mentioned on the right are many of the points reporter Gosk offers tonight. Information like this is the only abortion clinic in a very poor part of Philadelphia, that it had not been inspected in 17 years despite a flurry of complaints, including that the clinic was “outdated, dirty and horrendous.” Gosk asks a man who grew up in the neighborhood why these allegations, if true, happened here. The local explains how the people in the area feel “they are ignored because they are poor.” Gosk then explains how it’s not just the anti-choice crowd who is jumping on this story. The pro-choice folks are, too. In case you know a Fox News addict who brings this ‘conspiracy’ up, agree with them. Then explain how the media doesn’t want anyone to know how poorly funded and improperly controlled parenting clinics are in America’s most impoverished inner-city areas. That should blow their fucking mind.
ABC’s Sawyer gets to the Amanda Knox story… again… and again I don’t give a shit. Why it’s so important to tell us this story and ignore the increasing violence in Iraq that made April the most deadly month there in four years is beyond me. Okay, it’s not beyond me. Sawyer even tells us why ABC is the only network so throughly covering this old story. Sawyer calls the story “tabloid” and being that ABC has gone pretty ‘tabloid’ since Sawyer started anchoring, the blanket-like coverage of Knox makes sense.
CBS reports on a job that female soldiers can do better than their male counterparts: night-time household raids in Afghanistan! No, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer never mentions how Afghanistan complains that these home invasions are what’s most undermining the war on terror — other than those drones. Palmer seems to take pride in the job women soldiers are doing in a very controversial counterinsurgency strategy. I wonder if tomorrow she will revel in the glory of female drone pilots.
ABC’s nightly trivia round known as ‘Instant Index’ doesn’t disappoint, in that it sucks, as always. Anchor Sawyer tells us 1,800 classic Warner Brothers will no longer be available on Netflix. However, you can still watch them on a new service called ‘Warner Instant.’ Think of it as paying ten bucks a month to watch Turner Classic Movies on demand. Now, think of the last time you actually watched Turner Classic Movies. So my guess is you won’t be subscribing to Warner Instant either.
Sawyer’s not done with the pointless ‘Index.’ Next she shows a clip from the movie ‘Wedding Crashers.’ Why? Because the average cost per guest at an American wedding is now $590. In other words, each guest is shelling out nearly six bills just for attending a wedding. Again, why did Sawyer mention ‘Wedding Crashers,’ when that movie’s plot has little to do with this story? Maybe because it’s distributed by New Line Cinema, which is owned by Time Warner, and this is the last time Sawyer will see ‘Wedding Crashers’ until she subscribes to Warner Instant.
Sawyer wraps up ‘Instant Index’ by telling us she will have the exclusive interview with girls’ education advocate Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen who survived a Taliban assassination attempt. The interview won’t be for a few months. Maybe in that time, Sawyer will be able to make Malala the ‘Person of the Week.’ Malala was bumped earlier this year in favor of former Saturday Night Live cast member Amy Poehler and her work to help boost girls’ confidence. You know what else would boost their confidence? Malala’s story.
CBS anchor Scott Pelley next has the Venezuela politicians brawl… which was far more exciting than ‘The Secret Policeman’s Ball.’ The Venezuela parliament erupted in violence today. Pelley explains that the fracas was over a “law prohibiting criticism of the new president” Hugo Chavez’s handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro. Well, that’s kinda true. The law doesn’t say criticism of Maduro is prohibited. What it does say is that parliamentarians who refuse to recognize Maduro’s electoral win will not be allowed to be critical of the new president. I know, I know. That’s real shitty, too. But by Pelley omitting the recognition of Maduro’s electoral victory, the opposition comes off as a group of innocent and surprised victims.
CBS closes with a story on the Kentucky Derby, which I could not care less about. ABC ends with the story of an eleven year-old science whiz kid. The kid has a web series, and recently won a silver medal in a robotics competition for making a machine that could paint with watercolors. Pretty inspiring stuff, right? I mean, not Malala Yousafzai inspiring, who ABC ignored relative to the whiz kid, but inspiring nonetheless.
NBC ends with correspondent Katie Tur telling us about a Massachusetts school that was in horrible shape. When the principal got education funding, he prioritized the arts, something that surprises Tur and NBC. It makes sense that it astounds the network. They’ve put so much effort into advocating for privatized charter schools over public school funding, any success in public schools would amaze them. Sadly, The Media would rather our schools were producing productive members of our economy than fertile minds.
You would, too, if your product depended on a non-thinking audience.