September 17th, 2012

Big Brother CNN

I was at a doctor’s office today and had to sit in the waiting room for a few minutes, listening to the blah-blah-blah noise pollution of CNN. They were crowing about how terrible Romney is and how great Obama’s been doing; no surprise there.

I rarely listen to CNN except when forced to, in doctor’s officers and airports and such (in fact, I don’t listen to TV news very much at all). I’ve become so accustomed to the CNN drone in those settings that it rarely occurs to me to ask: why always CNN? Why not Fox for a change?

Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a public venue in the entire US where the default station might be Fox. But I certainly haven’t noticed one. Nor am I saying that public waiting rooms should play us cable news stations at all; I’d much prefer silence, especially nowadays, when at least half the people carry their entertainment with them in the form of iPods and iPhones and the like (even the occasional book is sometimes spotted, a rara avis).

But it strikes me that this hegemony of CNN as public background music is part of the reason for the nation’s leftward drift. It reminds me ever-so-slightly (or maybe not so very slightly) of the telescreen in 1984, which (if I remember correctly) could not be turned off, or the mind-shaping recordings that the residents of Brave New World had to listen to for their “education.”

“What’s the lesson this afternoon?” he asked.

“We had Elementary Sex for the first forty minutes,” she answered. “But now it’s switched over to Elementary Class Consciousness.”

The Director walked slowly down the long line of cots. Rosy and relaxed with sleep, eighty little boys and girls lay softly breathing. There was a whisper under every pillow. The D.H.C. halted and, bending over one of the little beds, listened attentively.

“Elementary Class Consciousness, did you say? Let’s have it repeated a little louder by the trumpet.”

At the end of the room a loud speaker projected from the wall. The Director walked up to it and pressed a switch.

“…all wear green,” said a soft but very distinct voice, beginning in the middle of a sentence, “and Delta Children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able to read or write. Besides they wear black, which is such a beastly colour. I’m so glad I’m a Beta.”

There was a pause; then the voice began again.

“Alpha children wear grey They work much harder than we do, because they’re so frightfully clever. I’m really awfuly glad I’m a Beta, because I don’t work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don’t want to play with Delta children. And Epsilons are still worse. They’re too stupid to be able…”

The Director pushed back the switch. The voice was silent. Only its thin ghost continued to mutter from beneath the eighty pillows.

“They’ll have that repeated forty or fifty times more before they wake; then again on Thursday, and again on Saturday. A hundred and twenty times three times a week for thirty months. After which they go on to a more advanced lesson.”

28 Responses to “Big Brother CNN”

  1. texexec Says:

    Fortunately, here in Texas, I do run into a fair number of public screens that feature FOX news (restaurants, doctor’s offices, etc.). I always compliment them on it. And thank them.

  2. Artfldgr Says:

    apply what you learn from your excerpted post to the conversion story below it… duh… that the left does not see second class citizens and the right does. the right would neve rmake them wear clothing or carry symbols of such, but would not deny their existence or the teaching that doing better is not the same as beig better.. it may make you more valuable to someone that needs you, and may even make you more needed, but better? thats a moral answer, the pope is better than richard speck.. unless your Satan, then its the other way around. then the pope is evil, and serial killers are just oppressed sociapaths…

  3. Doom Says:

    On a side note, it has to skew CNN’s (if dismal as is) ratings in their favor. I’ve noted the same, from McDonalds to medical to… whatever. And here in northern Utah. I’ve called CNN the communist news network since before Fox aired, fits. They do or have had a rural radio station that… was but wasn’t CNN too. My mother used to listen to it until I told her what she was actually listening to, she fussed but she found out on her own and stopped. Even some moderate liberals have had enough it seems.

  4. carl in atlanta Says:

    I can corroborate your observation about CNN being ubiquitous, and have often wondered the same thing. It’s the MUZAK of TVLand, with a heavy PC slant, simply dreadful to bear and all the more so because it’s freakin’ everywhere.

    Very 1984-ish. I wonder whether “They” all tune into it out of the same kind of uberconformist instinct that’s led to “Season’s Greetings!” replacing “Merry Christmas!”, etc., etc.?

  5. Jim Says:

    I live in the SF Bay Area, and I belong to two gyms with multiple TVs in each. FNC is ALWAYS on at least one of the TVs in both gyms (with the other ones on sports channels), CNN sometimes, MSNBC never.

  6. momo Says:

    I have two divergent thoughts on the matter.

    1) What if this default got set ages ago in the 90s when CNN was THE news network with the 1st Iraq war?
    We were all glued to the TVs listening to Bernhard Shaw hide under the table in his Baghdad hotel room (IIRC).
    As a result when people started this they just put THE news network on. And now when you start an office with a TV, you just go “Hey what network do I put on? Oh, yeah CNN is what is in all the airports and stuff. I’ll put on CNN.”
    As such the choice of CNN has less to do with ideology and more to do with inertia.

    2) Democrats (especially here in the Left Coast) believe that Hatred is a Virtue and in a Totalitarian world-view that the Personal is Political (seriously I was lectured about shopping at a “Red store”).
    As a result, it is financially and to some extent physically dangerous to put a heretical voice like Fox News on. CNN provides a safe choice that won’t overly offend Right-wingers (after all they have learned to live with it by now, and it isn’t as offensive as MSNBC) and at the same time allow Left-wingers to view you as obedient to The Party (and therefore an acceptable choice for their business).

  7. chuck Says:

    Ha, you think that’s bad. I had to listen to CNN for several hours on the last day of the Democratic convention while waiting for a flight out at Logan airport. Listening to all that home team rah rah and banal Obama worship was painful.

    Massachusetts is mostly enemy territory in any case, but at least I had some fun counting the Brown for Senate signs.

  8. Don Carlos Says:

    That airports are funded by taxpayers but run by commissions whose members are appointed by politicians (and are thus cronies of them) does much to explain the omnipresence of CNN at airports. Said local politicians are all Dems or RINOs.
    I decided some yrs ago to drive rather than fly; one doesn’t get as far as fast, but one retains precious personal liberties, and there is no TSA or CNN, no weather delays or lost luggage.

    As a doc, I find TV of any channel disgusting in a doc’s office. The TV is there because they keep you waiting and waiting and waiting. The usual excuse is, “An emergency came up. Sorry.” That is almost always BS. I get the first afternoon appt with my internist and still wait 45 min. I know where he is: at lunch. I lunched with him and others for many yrs and know what goes on. He’s a good doc, and my friend, but still abuses me and his other patients. Leave lunch at 12:45 because your 1st appt is at 1PM? That’s just not done by the 99%.

  9. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Don Carlos, thanks for confirming my suspicions about waiting in Dr.’s offices.

    CNN was the first 24/7 news network. It was the only go to station during Desert Storm. It was a good idea. But it began tilting further and further left. Fox is cleaning both MSNBC and CNN’s clocks. You would think their managements would figure out why their ratings are in the toilet. But I guess it’s a bit like Obama trying to figure out why the Islamists don’t like him, Hillary, or the USA “after all we have done for them.” They all have their heads in the sand, live in a bubble, or have their “principles.”

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    Airport departure lounges are probably keeping CNN alive, much as dentists’ offices are keeping Newsweek on life support.

    Speaking of which, as a captive in an office a few months ago I happened to read a Newsweek article about how the economy was booming now that Obama’s policies were really starting to kick in.

    Sure. Go with that.

  11. momo Says:

    t’s a bit like Obama trying to figure out why the Islamists don’t like him, Hillary, or the USA

    Oh I am sure Obama thinks the Arab world hates America for much the same reasons he hates America

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    Leftists’ lack of self-awareness can be staggering. It’s tempting to write off their more egregious comments as pure effrontery, but some of them are so risible that they reflect a complete lack of self-awareness (Obama: “Romney is unqualified to run a national economy.” Whoa.)

    And, unfortunately, they don’t get the requisite opprobrium from their social circle, and so drift further and further afield from reality.

  13. Jim Sullivan Says:

    I work in a Court Facility(Family Court), in a strong democrat region.

    Our waiting room (Family Court is a lot like the ER, only less happy) has a TV and it is always tuned to Fox News. I am surprised no one has made us change it yet.

  14. Occam's Beard Says:

    Does anyone else detest the ubiquity of TV screens? Even at the gas station you’re bombarded with blow-dried mannequins babbling about “celebrities,” some of whom have opposable thumbs.

    The celebrities that is. Actually, the observation also works for the talking mannequins. Hell, it even works for 52% of the electorate.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    Don Carlos: today I only had to wait about 10 minutes in the office.

    Of course, he only gave me about 5 minutes of his time. But at least I didn’t have to wait long for it!

  16. Don Carlos Says:

    As to CNN, you do live the Peoples’ Republic of Massachusetts, do you not? Q.E.D.

    In my office the nurses were charged with getting the doc to the patient with max wait 15min. Period. My rule as medical director. No TV.
    I get slower service from my dogs’ vet; stupid vet TV inescapable and full of inanities.

    My home TV is only on for occasional sports and for DVDs.

  17. jon baker Says:

    I see both Fox and CNN here in East Texas in restaurants. I try to go at lunch to the ones with Fox when given a choice. I have also heard Christian Music radio on at restaurants.

  18. George Says:

    In “1984” only members of the Inner Party can turn off the telescreen and then only temporarily.
    The book’s central character is stunned when he learns they can do it.

    Have never seen Fox in a public venue, always CNN, but then I’m in a very liberal area.

  19. Milan Says:

    I’m a conservative and I detest any TV in professional offices, gyms and gas stations. It’s all babble and idiotic. Can’t people be OK with their own selves anymore.

  20. Artfldgr Says:

    CNN gets the least complaints and requests to turn the channel…

  21. rickl Says:

    My dentist’s office has TVs everywhere. They’re usually tuned to the Today show or The View or some such crap. But they’re good dentists and I don’t have any complaints with their work, so I put up with it.

    No TVs in my vet’s office.

    I usually try to schedule doctor and dentist appointments for early in the morning, figuring that schedule slippage tends to be cumulative over the course of the day. It seems to work with the dentist; not so much with the doctor.

    I’ve been thinking about offering to pay the vet in cash to become my primary physician after Obamacare kicks in. Why not? Physiologically, humans aren’t that different from dogs and cats.

  22. Lorenz Gude Says:

    I disagree with MOMO that the two explanations presented are divergent. I think they are complementary. CNN became the default news channel in the First Gulf War AND it is the least likely to cause the public to complain or otherwise be bad for business. Otherwise MOMO is spot on. I would add the obvious point that CNN is in the middle between Fox and MSNBC thus making it the default choice to offend the least number of people. If you remember back to Major Hassan having his little tantrum at Ft. Hood, Fox was first with the Islamist angle. MSNBC and CNN both took the ‘workplace violence’ and second hand pre PTSD PTSD approach. But then CNN got to work and paid the convenience store owner the big bucks for pictures of the Major is his white dress the morning he went postal and used its fleet of DC reporters to scoop Fox on the pre deployment to Ft. Hood story from colleagues at Walter Reed. Meanwhile MSNBC, may God bless their cotton socks, stuck to its guns and carried on about the excruciating stress the Major was under as the only reasonable explanation for his ‘tragic’ action. I happened to be visiting my son in Florida at the time and found myself armed with a remote and my own TV and spent a few days flicking between the three channels. The most humorous thing that happened was there was a case of genuine workplace violence in Orlando. MSNBC stuck to their guns and began to wring their hands about yet another tragic shooting in the workplace. FOX and CNN initially threw wall to wall coverage at it but soon backed off when the perp was quickly caught and the body count failed to become Ft Hood class. As a result of these experiences I tend to think that CNN will show some balance if forced to do so. I’m not in the US right now and it sounds like CNN is not being forced to do anything about the campaign other than cheerlead for Obama. I would predict though that if Romney gets ahead in the polls they may change their tune, while MSNBC will heroically go down fighting.

  23. Maggie's Farm Says:

    Tuesday morning links…

    Video: The Italian Carpool Lane Pope Benedict’s Gutsy Prayer Insty in USA Today: Oh, to be young and unemployed Should there be required labeling of GMOs? Three Things Colleges Don’t Want Us to Know Biofuels causing hunger in Third World The Magn…

  24. IGotBupkis -- "Faecies Evenio", Mr. Holder? Says:

    }}}} But it began tilting further and further left.

    Not really surprising, is it?

    1) Atlanta (CNN’s Home base) is (I’ve heard) the only city in the USA where a white person can actually register as a minority, and the Atlanta Constitution is one of the nation’s most overtly liberal rags — on par with The Grey Whore, the WaPo, and The Parrot Target (LATimes). In other words, while Georgia is a “Southern” state and conservative in some ways (it’s still Democrats locally. mind you, as is most of the “Old South”), Atlanta is a very liberal city.

    2) Equally critical, CNN is one of Ted Turner’s babies. He is liberal enough to get married to and stay married for a long time to Jane Fonda. Does anything more need be said?

    3) CNN has probably always had a strong leftward lean, it just didn’t become obvious until the alternative voices came out with Talk Radio and the internets… in the 1990s.

  25. Barry Says:

    Jack’s Fine Hamburgers in our area always has Fox news on, the manager is Indo-Chinese or Vietnamese.

  26. DirtyJobsGuy Says:

    CNN always offered deals (like Muzak) to pay for TV’s etc. in airports and public places. So you got TV monitors in airport lounges in exchange for carrying CNN. It’s different in bars and restaurants with commercial satellite and cable. I’ve seen them change to Fox on request. Now the CNN International has always sold out to the local dictator and is a huge moneymaker.

    In airports they are annoying now that you have wireless internet so I’d push your local airport authority to pull the screens or feed them weather updates.

  27. Jan of MN Says:

    CNN’s coverage of the Thomas-Hill hearings (which provided my first nudge rightward) included a panel of a diverse dozen or so of Thomas’s previous female workplace associates who testified favorably on his character and workplace behavior. Although the panel appeared in front of the committee during normal daytime hours, the video was broadcast at 1:00 am Central and contradicted the testimony I had witnessed during the day. I’ve met only one other person who saw it. These days, Fox would show such a video repeatedly during a 24 hour period.

    It may be an illusion, but is CNN trying to appear more “fair and balanced”? I saw Anderson Cooper recently holding DebbieWS’s feet to the fire on one her obvious lies.

  28. Lorenz Gude Says:

    @Jan of MN I’d say that it is a bit of both with CNN letting AC dis DWS. Big institutions play both sides of the fence. My dad first made me aware of it in relation to the Catholic church which can point to Worker priests or Opus Dei if accused of bing right or left wing. Local property developers contribute to both parties to keep the zoning board sweet – as does Wall St to keep Congress sweet. So the media put out counter narrative stories to maintain the UNSTATED ‘fair and balanced’ claim. Every time I see FOX news use the OVERT ‘fair and balanced’ claim a shiver of delight goes through me (Take that Chris Mathews) because I sure do know they ain’t takin’ the piss out of the Sacramento Bee. Speaking of the gray courtesan i noticed that way back near the beginning of the presidential campaign they did a puff piece on Romney lauding him for doing simultaneous Harvard MBA and Law degrees and excelling. Who would guess he was a vulture capitalist who runs around in magic underwear pushing cripples over a cliff?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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