Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, AP, BBC America, CBS, ABC, we could go on for paragraphs just listing the different news programs in this country alone.
About ten years ago, I stopped watching news programs on TV and its probably not the reason many of you might suspect.
Once upon a time, reporters would actually inform you of the current events in your local area as well as over the world. If you missed the nightly news, you would have no way of getting the information until the next day.
There was no spin, no slant towards a certain agenda, no talking heads telling the viewers what to think or feel about any certain topic. Reporters were hired to give an unbiased view of the news. They were also for the most part a money losing program for the network. It was understood by the executives that the news didn't make money and never made a profit. Instead the news would bring acclaim and prestige to the network which would bring advertisers for the other shows. And for a time, the big three had the most respected anchors in the country.
The big three, Dan Rather CBS, Peter Jennings ABC, and Tom Brokaw NBC, ruled the airwaves for over twenty years. They brought a gravitas and respect to their respective networks.
Out of those three, Dan Rather, who from 1980 until the mid 2000's, was arguably the most respected and most watched news anchor in the country. This was before his fall for presenting questionable documents regarding President George Bush's Vietnam service papers.
Then Ted Turner came along with his visionary idea called CNN, the very first 24 hour news channel in the early 80's. But it wasn't until the Gulf War when the world first stood up and took notice. For the first time, CNN overtook the big three with an unprecedented scoop. They were the only news outlet to report from inside Iraq during the initial hours of the bombing campaign with live reports from a hotel inside Baghdad.
Almost ten years later, CNN would also go down in history as the first cable news channel to report the attack on September 11th showing the first live footage of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center.
And with the success of CNN, an Australian publisher, Rupert Murdoch, joined forces with philanthropist, Marvin Davis, to purchase a media company under the banner of 20th Century Fox, to compete with the big three in early 1985. By the third quarter of 1986, Murdoch led the company to earn 5.6 million dollars. In contrast, the year before of the same quarter, there was a 55 million dollar loss. For one of the first times in america, there was profit in the news and people started to notice.
Some would say this was the start of the decline of traditional news programming as networks implemented new standard operating procedures to garnish quarterly profits. And those shows that didn't turn a profit, those anchors that couldn't compete with the more sensationalized reporters were slowly replaced.
Now reporters were replaced with personalities pushing narratives the network demands as they started to divide into Republican and Democratic propaganda machines.
Traditional reporting was now regulated to newspaper only as networks focused on agendas and pandering to the advertisers. Thus paved the way for internet news shows who dove deeper into partisan politics with overt slants in one direction or the other. As of right now, no matter what side of the political spectrum you follow, you can find bias reporting that only reinforces your worldview and/or opinions.
But none of the above reasons are why I stopped watching TV news programs ten years ago.
The I-Phone brought a powerful computer in your pocket that gives you real time sources to find any information your heart desires. Why watch the nightly news that teases a story before a commercial break and then makes you wait now sometimes longer than 3 minutes. I just pull out my phone, and get the information from Twitter, Facebook, Google and I get the information without the talking heads spinning some story that happened ten hours earlier.
Who still watches news programs and if you do, which ones do you watch in 2019?