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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All the 'news' that fits

Channel surfing at 11:30 tonight, I found not one, not two, but three networks (Headline News, E! and Fox News) simultaneously airing stories about Miss California Carrie Prejean declaring during the Miss USA Pageant on Sunday that she opposes gay marriage.

How is this a story for even three minutes, let alone three days? A contestant in a pageant that virtually no one watches says she opposes gay marriage - a sentiment shared by probably half of America - and it's a three-day story? There's really nothing more important going on in the world?

The sad reality, at least in the 24-hour cable TV business, is that news no longer is defined as what's important or what viewers want to see; it simply is what the producers and on-air personalities decide to waste time showing us. I mean, seriously, how else can anyone explain the yearlong nightly obsession by Headline News and the thoroughly unwatchable Nancy Grace with the Caylee Anthony murder case? The case was more or less resolved last October, with the indictment of the 3-year-old girl's mother on murder charges, but there's Grace, every night on HLN, screaming at us, lecturing her guests and pretending that months-old developments are "BREAKING NEWS." What a joke. And what an embarrassment to the once-reputable broadcast news business.

But regrettably, Grace isn't the exception, nor are all the who-gives-a-damn stories about Miss California and her stance on gay marriage. These are pretty much the rule now in a medium that relies less on less on bringing viewers important stories and more and more on filling the endless news cycle with whatever garbage is available.

How disappointing.



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