Today I saw “10 Embarrassing Fast Food Fails” which sounds like something you might see on Buzzfeed or even here, but no it was on CNN. I am pretty pissed. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the post that says, “This post was created for your reading pleasure as a collaborative effort between the editorial staffs of BuzzFeed and CNN. Beware, it contains offensive language.”
Here is why I am pissed. Entertainment and news is being conflated more and more. If you watch clips of the news from the 1980s and before that reporters were stoic and neutral, they merely delivered information. They were not charming, funny, they were not personalities. They did not run fluff pieces to retain a viewer’s attention and you could perhaps trust them, even.
Look at Fox News. This is not a dig at conservatives. There are plenty of smart ones but there is nothing smart about Fox News and MSNBC is perhaps the liberal-minded version of the cultural demagogy disgusing itself as “news.” These channels exploit people’s prejudices whether they be political, racial or cultural, in order to gain viewers and push agendas. That is not the news. That is OP-ED at best. At worst it is making people who trust the news misinformed and prejudiced.
There are two recent pop culture sensations that explore this kind of news and that’s ‘The Newsroom’ and ‘The Hunger Games.’ They criticize the mix of entertainment, emotional coddling, violence and exploitation in news and television.
So what does Buzzfeed have to do with this? Buzzfeed is great, but it isn’t news. CNN is supposed to be news. Buzzfeed entering the realm of CNN degrades every other piece of writing on CNN.com. I don’t go to CNN for “reading pleasure” I go for information. Placing an article about “fast food fails” next to articles about drone strikes and North Korea suggests that these two kinds of articles are equal in importance and that news should be fun, cute and happy!
What’s next: 10 Things About North Korea That Will Make You Miss Your Childhood? 15 Monkeys Riding Drones? 10 Democrats From The ’90s With Sexy Hair?
I don’t mean to pick on Buzzfeed because there is a ton of other “entertainment” fluff pieces up there but this just caught me so off guard. I am mad at CNN and culture that needs to have its news fluffed with bows and kitties in order to seem worthwhile. It’s pretty pathetic that CNN needs pageviews so bad that they would put this kind of stuff on their website.
Now, I love that kind of stuff just not with my news. I’d like to know what’s real and what’s not. I’d like to know what’s important and what’s not. I’d like to be informed in one place and GIF’ed on another.
Does this bother you at all? Is it just me?