In case you haven’t noticed, here is where we are. It is possible for a person to spend every waking hour in front of the television without risking exposure to anything remotely serious, useful or informative.
Consider the viewers of alleged “reality” shows. Be it Real Housewives, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or Project Runway, these people, the epitome of what has come to be known as the “low-information voter,” can consume thousands of hours of “reality” and still not be able to name their congressmen at gunpoint.
As you well know, this bunch was instrumental in the “historic” 2008 election of Barack Obama, our first celebrity president. His campaign brilliantly realized that to win, they needed to position him as someone “cool,” so that voting for him would be like voting for Tom Hanks as “the most trusted person in America.” The fact that he was a hard-wired radical leftist whose ideology was (and is) diametrically opposed to the country created by the Founders never had to come up, as his slobbering fans, whose only previous experience with voting consisted of furiously texting the number of their favorite American Idol contestants on a Tuesday night transferred their mania to their new favorite famous guy.
It may be obvious to many Americans that it’s safe to assume that most of the dolts who spend their time watching Cheaters, TMZ, and Inside Edition are not well-informed citizens. Some may also shake their heads in disgust thinking about the millions of wet-behind-the-ears twenty-somethings who think they are getting “news” by watching The Daily Show. Before we look down our noses at these people, though, we need to consider a depressing reality: specifically, viewers of supposed network “news” programs are only marginally more informed than the average viewer of The Colbert Report or My Giant Face Tumor.
The most popular network morning show today is ABC’s Good Morning America. It is also the most dangerous because it allows its viewers to believe that they are actually well-informed, when in fact a person can watch this show seven days a week without risking exposure to more than 5 minutes of actual news and information.
Here is the template for a typical GMA’s daily broadcast. A weather story, preferably a huge storm with lots of destruction, followed by a human interest story, then something about celebrities’ behaving badly, and concluding with a promotion for some ABC prime-time programming. On days when there is a blockbuster human interest story, like the Jodi Arias Verdict, or the Cleveland Kidnapping, there will be wall-to-wall coverage, featuring interviews with anyone with even the most remote connection to the figures in the case. They might even shorten the weather coverage to turn network TV minutes over to their exhaustive coverage of these cases.
If you doubt me, consider the recent case of the drunk driving arrest of Reece Witherspoon’s husband in Atlanta. GMA devoted two segments to this case, which was also big news on TMZ. Can anyone seriously make the case that there’s a dime’s worth of difference between these two shows at the end of the day? The answer is “no.”
Incidentally, the same day that this earth-shattering story was HUGE over at GMA, more serious outlets were reporting on the fact that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), Barack Obama’s man in the U.S. Senate, agreed with another democrat, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) that the Obamacare bill that Sen. Baucus had largely written is a “train wreck.” Of course, since apparently 42% of Americans don’t realize that Obamacare is the law of the land, I guess the folks at GMA figured it would be WAY too time-consuming to try to explain to the audience what they were talking about if they reported on that whole “train wreck” thing. Besides, issues like the economy, Benghazi and the looming Obamacare disaster are so boring! That Reece Witherspoon story, now that’s news!