Monday, April 13, 2020

Snubbing the president

WGAL-TV, Channel 8, is happy and anxious to tell you, to remind you, and to remind you again, that it is the source of trusted news in the Susquehanna Valley.
    Through incessant self-indulgent commercials, the station pounds away at its viewers with claims of awards, the "best" coverage, a staff of "investigative" reporters, etc., etc., etc., and so one, and more.
    This station has expanded its "coverage" of the news from what used to be the usual 1/2-hour of local origin, five times as much ... 2-1/2 hours consistent starting at 4 p.m. and ending at 6:30 p.m.
    BUT, it's not 2-1/2 hours of different stories. Instead it's programmed as the News at 4, the News at 4:30, the News at 5, the News at 5:30, and the News at 6, with stories repeated through each newscast.  To spice it up a little, not all the facts of a story are presented at once, and then the viewer is teased that they'll get a little bit more information at the next newscast, to keep you viewing without a break.
    To rub a little for salt into the wound, the stories are presented as "breaking news," when it is no more than a brief update of an ongoing story. The pandemic story, as an example, broke over 1-1/2 months ago. There's nothing "breaking" about it in general.
    I present that picture of the station's activity because of what has started happening now. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House has been holding coronavirus update conferences each day. We all know that Donald Trump is not a seasoned politician and he presents things in a different way.
     So the station now goes to the White House for the start of the news conference and, if Trump begins to "drift" a little from the main subject, the station cuts away, telling you that it switched the news conference coverage to one of its subchannels so it can focus on the important breaking news in the station's coverage area and forgo the viewers getting bored.
     What follows is repeats of the same stories it's been re-hashing for days. The only thing "breaking" are the new numbers of new cases and the number of deaths. It thinks it is a big deal, like giving ball scores from sports events. And the viewers are getting bored anyway.
     There is noone that hasn't heard about media bias toward the current president of the United States. And here is channel 8, feeding that argument for what? If they were cutting off a new conference because they only had a half-hour slot, or a one-hour slot for local news, that could be understandable.
     But its anchors and reporters are whining away for 2-1/2 hours straight with stories that actually could have been compressed into a time slot of less than an hour.
     I, personally a middle-of-the-road slightly conservative person, am taking offense at this activity.

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