Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Death of Print and Television

The History Channel is now history-free and running endless stories about how space aliens built the pyramids.

The Discovery Channel is now a reality-TV schlock-fest full of fakery ginned up on the cheap from contract film crews constantly trolling for wanna-be-famous odd-bodies.

The Learning Channel, started in 1972 by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and NASA, has devolved to running shows about authoritarian bakers and struggling dwarfs.

Animal Planet has taken to stuffing rats into walls so some embarrassing refugee from a trailer park can whoop and holler.

Now comes news that National Geographic has been sold to the Murdoch-owned Fox corporation in a $725 million deal that is sure to plumb new depths in cultural loss.

Which is not to say that there is much to save in terms of National Geographic's integrity.

Founded in 1888, and once famous for bringing us Jacques Cousteau, Jane Goodall, and the marvels and wonders of history, science, and nature, the magazine can no longer be found outside a dentist offices.

Like so many others, the television channel has tumbled down the worm hole of "reality" TV (see here and here), and I no longer watch. In fact, I no longer watch regular TV at all, and I no longer subscribe to any newspaper or magazine.  If I am going to watch film fakery, I prefer to get mine from professional actors on NetFlix or Amazon.  If I seek news or information, I get more than I can consume, at lightning speed (and for free) from two dozen news sites and 200 blog feeds.

Print and television, as we once knew them, is dead, and I am no longer lying next to its rotting corpse. As the world is new, so must we be new.

Forward into the darkness we ride, a nation of ignorants and amnesiacs, seeking reality from fakery, and news from foreign pundits spewing hate, misinformation and propaganda. What could possibly go wrong?


Rojan jacob said...

Hi can you put up a link of some of the news outlets you subscribe to?


Amy Nexus said...

I still can get excellent programming from my local public television station, decent local and international news commercial free, it's typically the only "TV" I watch these days. They even run classic movies late with no commercials. Sounds like you're not in a good local public television market, that's unfortunate.

I agree, commercial TV is a waste land these days. They figured out that reality TV can be produced for next to nothing and for some sick reason brain dead Americans lap it up and sponsors come running. Horders?!? I can't imagine wanting to watch one show about that never mind an entire season plus. Thanks Jerry Springer, for shining a light on trailer trash TV.

Ian Logan said...

The latest here in the UK is "Goglebox" a program which consists of an hour of people sitting in their own homes watching TV. Bet you cant wait till that one crosses the pond.

Karen Carroll said...

I worked for NatGeo in Gaithersburg, MD. Back then, 76-78, it was a membership of about 8 million I believe. It was the membership center My sister worked for them 18 years until they closed the facility, and moved to Romney WV. The web replaced processing memberships. I felt back then and now that they were the most honest, non-biased news and information organization in the world. Their article on S. Africa's apartheid system, and the more recent article they published on human trafficking were two that I remember. Back then we were not issued employee id cards. For I was told that it was felt by management that access events/places would abused by some employees, as press credentials. Now that they are owned Fox, I am saddened that their path will likely change for the worse.

Karen Carroll said...

I worked in the Membership Center at Nat Geo in Gaithersburg in 1976-1978. My sister worked there for 18 years until they closed the facility and moved it to Romney WV. The internet made membership hand processing and data entry obsolete. Back then, and even recently I consider them to be the most unbiased informative news/information organization of all. Two articles stand out in my years of reading the magazine. The apartheid situation in S. Africa in the 70's and a more recent article (Sept. issue in 2003?) on human trafficking and forced prostitution after the fall of the eastern block nations. Now we will see if their journalistic independence and world wide respect will stay. Or be gone forever.