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Problem with politics is incessant TV coverage

July 31, 2013

By Bill McCullough, Daily News

Re: ‘Coverage of federal politics is puzzling’ (Daily News, July 26) You think? There’s not much puzzle there. All-day audio and visual news programs are killing insightful news coverage.

In our own TV cable area alone there are four readily accessible 24/7 news networks, all commercially competing for the same fairly brain-dead audience.

Any one of those networks can only hope for favourable market share by ensuring that, at any moment someone tunes in, that listener is going to be riveted by something “newsy.” Something newsy in the way of a sound or vision bite is rarely something in the way of good news.

All day news is attack news about bad things involving both good and bad people.

Worse still, at least two of our own networks tend to scroll news in a way that favours a political bias on the right or left of Canadian politics.

In effect, they feed the bad or distorted news mongers exactly as the latter want to see and hear their news. Truth and sensibility are the two early casualties of Canada’s electronic news coverage. Unfortunately, the big carriers get the big share of a gullible market.

Does the Daily News reader want to rise above all that? Newspaper subscriptions are part of the cost of any hope of being better informed.

Occasionally holding the editor’s or a careless reporter’s feet in the fire also helps. I may myself be long-in-the-tooth and on the downhill side of life, but I subscribe to and regularly read three daily newspapers and several other hard copy periodicals.

I’m anything but brain-dead and am still able to sort the wheat from the chaff without being spoon fed by talking heads with their own agendas.

I’m reminded of two adages applicable to the gathering of political, military or economic intelligence. First, learn to differentiate between information, disinformation and misinformation. Second, test your sources, all of them, for bias and reliability.

All-day news lives and dies on controversy, be that controversy truth or fiction. Fiction, twice repeated, develops a life, reputation and durability of its own. And, for the inevitable cynics out there, I’m neither a publisher nor do I own any newspaper stock. Published in Canada.com.

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