Quote, August 13 2011 — Why I read the news, and don’t watch it on television

‘The angry idiocy of cable TV caters to those for whom politics is a form of entertainment, about which they can become passionate and self-righteous.’

– Holman W. Jenkins Jr., “S&P Introduces the Edsel”, Wall Street Journal, August 13 2011 (site last accessed August 13 2011)


Too much of anything rots the brain. If someone watches sitcoms all day long, they start talking in sitcom one-liners & ironic comebacks, and often seem to be talking more for the benefit of an invisible studio audience than anyone actually in the room with them. If someone watches cable TV news programs all day long, they start endlessly repeating the talking points they hear the most, agree with the most, or that sound the most eloquent or glib or smart.

Never mind that the vast majority of the time, experts or spokespersons on cable TV know they have a very small window of opportunity (both in how long they get to present their topic, and how much attention they’ll get from the average viewer before the button gets pressed to go another channel) to sway anyone to their point of view.

Unless it’s a documentary or unusually in-depth interview, the expert or spokesperson will be presenting topics in very simple — and even simplistic — terms. Niggling little details about how a policy has been implemented, or similar results of other policies that have been tried in the past, or possible conflicts of interest on the part of those who are pushing a particular type policy all get ignored and go unmentioned. Complications like that just muddy the waters & confuse the viewer, when the goal is to get the viewer to agree with a specific point of view and if possible, agree so strongly they’ll remember what point of view they agreed with the next time the topic is presented.


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