Thursday, January 17, 2013

Q Day 10: TV News?

Okay, one more. N asks:
I read about politics online every day, mostly via Twitter, magazines, and newspapers. For at least as long as Obama's been president, however, I've stopped watching televised news with the exception of the very occasional Colbert episode (I'm 32). Temperamentally, I just have no interest in that medium for politics. My q: do you think there are any compelling reasons to keep up with politics through television? Corollary: do you watch politics on tv?
I have to say -- other than live events, I now very rarely turn to the TV news. 

I wonder sometimes about it...I know that in the 1990s, when I watched CNN a fair amount, I thought it was important to tune in to the broadcast evening news shows during campaigns in order to get a sense of what the campaign looked like to most people. I guess now there's no longer much of a "most" people any more.

Now, granted, I've never exactly been a normal news consumer, and that's even more the case since I started blogging. I want efficiency in how I learn what's going on, and I don't need to hear additional opinions beyond what I'm otherwise reading. And TV news just isn't very efficient. I also shy away from TV news as entertainment...I get enough of that on twitter. I suppose I do occasionally flip around the dial (CNN, Fox, MSNBC) to see what they're up to, but I rarely stop for more than a few seconds.

I do wonder about the distortions I get from my twitter feed, but again my sense is that everything is so dispersed now that there's no getting around that. I've definitely found out well after the fact about some Fox News or MSNBC obsession, and I find it increasingly difficult to understand what politics looks like to the still substantial chunk of the population who still watch NBC, CBS, and ABC; it's just that in the 1980s or 1990s you could keep an eye on all of it, and now you really can't. Or at least not unless that's what you're specializing in. 

So overall, no, I don't really watch much TV news now, and I don't miss it. 


  1. "The Simpsons: You Kent Always Say What You Want (#18.22)" (2007)

    Kent Brockman: Excuse me, did you see the six o'clock news?

    Comic Book Guy: No, I get my news from the internet, like a normal person under seventy. Farewell, dinosaur.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts, Jonathan! I've been reading you since 2011, and the way you think about politics has been invaluable to my own understanding. Your 2/24/11 post, 'Outside the Political Junkie Bubble', made a particularly deep impression on me--really broadened my political imagination. Keep up the good work.

  3. Even before I went to Singapore, I didn't watch TV news. I can digest information in text about 10 times faster than I can hear an anchorperson tell it to me. Sometimes even faster than that, if the anchorperson is going to waste time by repeatedly telling me things to make sure I feel the right emotion about the news.


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