Once Upon a Time


There was a time when television news was special in this country. It is almost impossible to believe now, but once upon a time the three networks (there were only 3 then, CBS, NBC and ABC), didn't have the exact same news stories when they went to broadcast during the early years of television. They had the main breaking world news stories of course, but not the same smaller ones. It was also possible during this period to change a channel during a commercial break, and go to another news broadcast, and not run into another commercial.

I once heard media mogul Ted Turner describe the networks as a cartel, meaning that the networks, as a group of corporations, decide what policy and operations they will put forth as one unit. They decided long ago that when one station goes to commercial, they will all go to commercial. Rarely can you turn a channel and completely escape not seeing a commercial coming on, at the very same time as the other commercial on the other channel you just left.

This has also affected the quality of the news. The homogeneous nature of all this, comes from the fact that most reporters are not being allowed to "beat the pavement" so to speak, in the Jimmy Breslin (pictured above) fashion, and find real and important news stories that actually effects us all. (They'll have special shows to do sensationalized sex and murder pieces, like a Dateline or ABC's 20/20, and little popcorn segments about rip-offs and such on the local news from time to time, but that's pretty much it.) This corporate level of control explains why the news now is nothing more than celebrity gossip. There's a reason why you don't fully understand the reasons for maintaining wars, but you know how many women Jesse James and Tiger Woods slept with.


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