Saturday, April 18, 2009

The LCD Evening News

Are the executives at NBC aware that their 30-minute evening newscast is called "Nightly News"? Based on the vapid pointlessness of many of the Nightly News stories, it appears not. A recent example was Friday's "news" story about Youtube and Twitter (April 17). Nightly News took almost three minutes to tell us what could have been said in five seconds. "People like to use Youtube and Twitter." That's it. That's the entire news content of the story. Maybe they should have attached a "Breaking News" banner to the story. Of course, the Nightly News producers had their own reasons for airing the story:

>It provided the producers with yet another opportunity to show the clip of Susan Boyle singing "Cry Me A River" on "Britain's Got Talent" (this is the third time in a week that Nightly News has shown this clip). They also showed the clip of Domino's employees doing disgusting things while preparing food. These are currently among the most-googled clips on the internet, so NBC included them in the story to pander to the audience. The producers believe that viewers don't really want new information, they just want the same familiar material over and over again.
>Many of the Twitter tweets shown in this segment are about how great Jimmy Fallon's new show is. This is just a shameless attempt to use a "news" story to promote another NBC show.
>The story included an unintentionally hilarious interview with David Gregory. Gregory had absolutely no relevance to this story, but he is nevertheless interviewed as if he is some sort of Twitter expert. Nightly News is simply using this gratuitous interview to promote "Meet The Press". Again--shameless.
>This story also featured a clip of Oprah interviewing Ashton Kutcher. It was included because...people love celebrities! NBC knows that the more celebrities they show in their news stories, the more people will watch. (During Sunday's story on diamonds, we were treated to clips of Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Hurley.) Would Ann Curry bother going back to Darfur if George Clooney or Brad & Angelina weren't also there? Of course not!

Nightly News aired this story not because it had any news value, but because the featured Youtube clips and celebrities would attract and hold the viewers' attention. By feeding the viewers a steady diet of the same pop culture icons over and over again, NBC believes the viewers will keep tuning in. And they're probably right. When they ring the bell, we salivate. This is LCD news. It's designed to appeal to the viewers' lowest common denominator.

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