Posted by: patenttranslator | February 19, 2013

I Only Watch “News” on TV When a Hurricane Is Coming

We are assaulted by what is called “news” all the time today as “news” is on 24/7 on several channels now. Most of it is completely useless, some of it is propaganda and/or advertising dressed up to look like news. Very little of what the “news channels” on my TV offer is what I would consider news.

When I go up the “news” channels, starting from 100 to 114, I see on one channel a pretty girl being questioned by some lawyer in court. I guess she killed her boyfriend since the text underneath says something about killing and obviously she is not the one who was killed, but I am not sure what exactly happened. This particular “news” program, which has been on for weeks now, will go on for hours today, but I only watch if for a few minutes. “How could she have killed somebody?” I am thinking to myself and then switch to another channel. They had a different pretty girl on trial for murder on TV like this a few months ago, and they will have to find yet another one who might have murdered someone a few months from now, preferably in a really gruesome manner. So many commercials to show to people who are hungry for “news”.

Three or four “news” stations are about stocks. The guests talk excitedly about how some of them are going up, while soberly assessing the prospects of stocks that are low. Most people don’t make money from betting on stocks, do they? They have to work for a living. Somebody has to do the real work. Why do they want to make us watch this useless nonsense?

One “news” channel that I sometime watch has been showing for months a series called “American Greed”. All kinds of con men: preachers, lawyers, doctors and pillars of the community who got rich by stealing money for years from investors based on the simple premise of Ponzi scheme.

But they only tell us about them long after they have been caught once they ran out of money. It is not really news if they have been in prison for many years now, is it? Had the “news” stations been talking about the crooks while they were cheating people out of their money, that would be real news. But that is not what this “news” is about.

There is a little bit of news on BBC America, but only in comparison to the other “news” stations. Also, the commercial intervals on BBC America are not as long as on the other “news channels”. On MSNBC and other “news” channels,  the commercials are the main meal on the menu and the “news” is the salad that they throw in with the meal.

So I mostly try to watch news in French and German instead. This news is a little bit better, it covers a larger part of the world, there are no commercials and I can keep up with with the terms they use for things like climate change and banksters (this word exists so far only in English) in these languages.

They mostly just summarize news in 20 minute segments instead of giving the microphone to talking heads who range from self-absorbed and vapid to brain dead on my “news” channels. Every talking head on American TV knows exactly what he or she is allowed to say and they never stray from saying only the things that are expected from them because otherwise they would obviously lose their very well paid jobs.

Which is precisely why listening to them is a complete waste of time.

I stopped watching my local news stations because the local news is mostly about the latest teenager who got himself killed driving, robberies and …. cats up the trees being rescued by the fire department, I think. I don’t really remember that much about it because I stopped watching this particular brand of “news” quite a few years ago since I don’t really need to know anything about what they are saying. If there is a crime wave nearby, my neighbors will hopefully tell me before it is on the news.

By the time it is on the local news, I will be probably one of the victims.

But I become reacquainted with my local news casters every year during the hurricane season because that is when the news on my local TV stations is all of a sudden relevant to my life. I do need to know where the hurricane will land, how long it will rain, the wind speed (40 miles an hour is pretty bad), how long I may be without power and things like that.

So you could say that I still trust the news on my TV, but only when the news is about the weather, usually when a hurricane is about to land in Eastern Virginia.


  1. I once had a news reporter stop me in front of my house to tell me about a crazy fight that Aparently took place on my street. I told her that I didn’t believe her because one of my many retired neighbors would have seen it. After the interview I wasn’t aware the camera was still rolling as we had a friendly conversation about different things. That night in the news, I don’t believe you turned into “Oh my God! What is this word coming to!” Since that time, I don’t put a lot of trust in the news.


    • I too was ambushed by a TV reporter who wanted to know my opinion on something in front of a bookstore a while ago.

      And then I saw myself on TV on evening “news”.

      It made me feel so proud and relevant!


  2. A long, long time ago, when someone realised there was money in advertising, ‘news’ became ‘entertainment’, like gossip 🙂


    • Part of the story of how Western civilization became something that “would be a good idea” as Gandhi put it.


  3. The weather has been slowly changing were I live but fortunately we don’t have hurricanes yet. So fortunately I don’t have to hear/watch the ‘news’.


  4. Are you saying that you are subjected to the same meaningless infotainment interrupted by a noisy torrent of commercials every 3 minutes where you live too?


    • Portugal being a small country, we’re always a bit behind on many things (a blessing in disguise) so it’s probably not as bad as where you are. But the news are usually ‘des-information’ more than anything else. I actually advised my mother to stop watching them since they left her confused and overanxious. It’s a mess and a shame since TV is often the only daily ‘companion’ of a quickly aging population who deserved better.


  5. How funny. Yesterday I did an art project while listening to a certain annoying US news program, in which I picked out and wrote down random phrases they were using. One of my favorites was “deliberately lying”. I guess they wanted to differentiate that from the casual lying that they perceive as normal.
    Otherwise, Al-Jazeera gets my thumbs up. I’ve loved them ever since they garbled Miloš Zeman’s name into “Me Louse Semen”. That is true art.


  6. Al-Jazeera beats US alphabet TV “news” stations hands down.

    So does Envoye Special on French TV, Arte Reportage on Swiss TV and other programs in French on Belgian and Swiss TV.

    But blogs still force our newspapers to kind of sometime timidly address real issues.

    Two days ago I read on a blog that I follow a post about a man with Down syndrome, which means that he had the IQ of a small child, who was arrested by the police here in Virginia because he wanted to see a movie twice without buying a second ticked. The cops roughed him up so badly that he died in police custody and the coroner determined that his death was a homicide.

    You can read about it here:


  7. But the hurricane will probably “make landfall” (land-fall? land fall?) before you learn from the “news” exactly where and/or when! And you will have yet more newsperson standing out in the wind and water saying such things as, “Yes, John. The wind is really blowing now and….”


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