Friday, August 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Too much bad news

Why the coverage of the tragedy in Japan is so excessive.

Too much bad news

I realize this sounds callous, but TV is devoting too much coverage to Japan.

There’s no denying the monumental scope of the calamity is big news. But once reporters inevitably begin interviewing other reporters and the same information (and footage) is repeated over and over, then news outlets are just running in place, filling airtime

 It seems to me that TV news used to be more balanced. Certainly a natural disaster on the scale of Japan’s would lead off the broadcast but it wouldn’t be the only thing covered.

Recently the network and cable news divisions have grown obsessive.  They will devote all their resources – and all their airtime – to a single story to the exclusion of all other topics. We saw this with the unrest in the Mideast and the Haiti quake. Important stories all. But the rest of the universe does not stop.

So we got ‘expanded coverage’ and ‘special editions’   from morning to night and all this weekend detailing every aspect of the Japanese quake.

My theory is that this single-minded focus grew out of habit of cable news channels like CNN to hunker down and devour a breaking story until the bones were picked clean and there was nothing left to report or speculate on or debate about. That doesn’t mean that the networks, who have limited time on their schedules for news, should follow suit.

Thoroughness is an admirable quality, especially in journalism. But it does viewers no service when TV news gets so monomaniacal.

Read more Dave on Demand.

David Hiltbrand Inquirer TV Critic
About this blog

A true child of TV, David Hiltbrand has worked as a critic at People and as a columnist and editor at TV Guide.

David Hiltbrand Inquirer TV Critic
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