Elliot Hannon nails it in CNN Gets It Wrong — Why We Don’t Really Mind:
If we cared more about journalism than news theater we’d all be watching PBS. But no one’s talking about NewsHour. There are no meltdowns. The circus, itself, becomes the point — the reason to watch. Youtube videos go viral precisely because they are unexpected, unvarnished — embarrassing. This is CNN.
I know I talk about it a lot, but here’s another paragraph from Neil Postman’s 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death that could have been written about 24-hour news networks:
Thus, we have here a great loop of impotence: The news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing. […]
And a few chapters later:
Our culture’s adjustment to the epistemology of television is by now all but complete; we have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge, and reality that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane. And if some of our institutions seem not to fit the template of the times, why it is they, and not the template, that seem to us disordered and strange.