November 3rd, 2016

Do you watch TV news anymore?

I don’t.

Ann Althouse succinctly states my take on this election:

To me, the election is a horror show, and it doesn’t matter whether I go down into the cellar or jump out the window. A monster will grab me. I can’t have the fun of enjoying Trump crushing it on Fox or Clinton basking in presumed victory on CNN.

Some time last winter, without planning it or thinking much about it, I suddenly stopped watching all news shows. That includes all networks and cable networks, all talk shows, all radio talk shows—the entire kit and kaboodle. This happened spontaneously and came from the gut mostly; I found I simply could not bear to watch anyone. The election year that had begun with such high promise had already turned into a horror show for me, and I couldn’t stand the smug gloating or the doom and gloomers or the distortions and lies and spin or really much of anything about it.

Of course, I’ve always much preferred to get my news in print, so I hadn’t been a heavy TV news consumer anyway, and stopping wasn’t a hardship at all.

My question is: what about you? Do you watch a lot of TV news or listen to radio talk shows? Did you used to watch more? Or are you just drinking it up?

I’ve seen a lot of commentary on blogs this year from people who’re saying “Pass the popcorn, I’m enjoying this so much!” Hey, party pooper me isn’t having fun at all. I consider this election tragic for the country, and although I suppose it has its ironic and schadenfreude-ish and even comic aspects, I ain’t laughing and I’m not even smiling.

51 Responses to “Do you watch TV news anymore?”

  1. ArmyMom Says:

    My husband remarked recently that I had gone 180 degrees away from the news junkie that I had been over the past 15 years. This year has been so hard to watch because I feel like I am watching the death of something very good (Our republic). Sigh…. I have turned off everything except a single talk radio show whose host I feel is more truthful than most. Otherwise, I watch Food Network and DIY channel to stay away from the political rah-rah shows.

  2. mezzrow Says:

    My only viewing is via links to excerpts. I haven’t watched a news program on TV with any regularity in about 10 years, I suppose. It only takes a couple of minutes and I turn it off or go elsewhere.

    They are inaccurate and a waste of time. I was once a news junkie, too.

  3. eve Says:

    The same thing has happened to me, and I’m a self-confessed news junkie. I avoid the national news on all channels because of obvious bias towards both news and political issues. I get almost all of my news and information on line. No MSNBC or Fox for me.

  4. Ira Says:

    If you haven’t yet tried it, try One America News Network. On U-Verse its channel 208 or 1208.

  5. stu Says:

    I had a law professor who would not read a newspaper unless it was at least a week old. He had less anxiety that way.

  6. Sharon W Says:

    I was a born “news-junkie”. My dad was a television engineer and worked for WGN (World’s Greatest Newspaper–Tribune). We had a TV in every bedroom by the time I was 9 and I watched 2 news broadcasts a day from that age. We received 2 newspapers a day and 3 on Sunday. I stopped watching television news in 2000–except for something like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina (Ughhh!). I stopped receiving both newspapers when Obama was elected. Somehow I keep better informed than those around me plugged into the “network”.

  7. Nick Says:

    I don’t have cable, so I never got in the habit of watching Fox News. I did some travelling recently, which meant a lot of CNN, and yeah, they’re so partisan there’s no point to watching. They’re more partisan than they are incompetent. (From what I’ve seen I’d put Fox in the same category.) The broadcast networks’ news coverage is more incompetent than partisan, but again, not worth watching.

    That leaves the internet for me as a news source. And that brings with it the risk that you think you’re getting more information than you really are. (But I guess that’s what I’m saying about TV and newspapers as well.) It’s frustrating: it’s easier to filter out bias than kookiness.

  8. Nick Says:

    Huh. Looking at my comment, I realize that I’ve constructed a hierarchy of distortion. Bias is the easiest to filter out, maybe due to our years of experience. It’s easy to spot. Journalistic aziness and error are tougher to filter out, because they’re more like white noise. But the insanity I’ve seen this cycle is next to impossible to take into account. You simply don’t know who’s coming from where and you can’t use history as an indicator. A lot of previously-reasonable sources have gone off the rails.

  9. brdavis9 Says:

    Visual news junky not so much.

    OTOH: the internet-news-junky force is strong in this one.

    But …except for this blog (of which I pretty much have to ignore around half of you for the first time), I pretty much dropped out of being a political junkster in early November of 2012.

    That’s when I discovered that I had a theretofore (yep: word) never realized VAST and utter depth of contempt for a huge swath of the American electorate that evidenced a certain tendency towards obscure pathologies that necessitated a radical excision of certain flaws in my sociological continuum.

    …and as I am subject to motion sickness, and as I hate throwing up, I have learned to pay as little attention to politics as my mostly recovering addiction admits.

    This year? Worse. Much much worse. Even here.

    (I think I threw up a little in my mouth just now just thinking about it. Eww. Nast-y.)

  10. J.J. Says:

    I usually have Fox on at certain times during the day. 0900-1000 and 1600-1900. Fox covers things you will never see on the other TV channels. Are they always accurate? NO! Are they always “fair and balanced?” NO! Hannity has gone completely in the tank for Trump. So has Eric Bolling.

    Our local paper is far left, but has reasonable coverage of local news and an entertaining letters to the editors section. I have had nearly all the letters I sent in published. There is lively debate there. Not as lively or extensive as at Neo’s place, however.

    I get a lot of news from the internet, but find that most of it is as prone to bias and error as the TV channels.

    I watch Fox Business most days at the closing bell. It give me a feel for how the markets are shaping up. But my real market news comes from online subscriptions I have to John Mauldin and Ulli Nieman, both pretty good investment newsletters. Also, my broker has an excellent research outlet on his website.

    The election has been like watching a slow motion train wreck. One of the things that amazes me is that I never, ever, thought we would have two such unacceptable candidates. I have always detested the Clintons. My wife is originally from Arkansas and all her family are still there. They know the Clintons up close and personal and were aghast when he won the Presidency. So, my feelings about Hillary and Mr. Bill have always been negative and go way back.

    With Trump I was willing to take a look at him, but found his narcissism, name calling, and inch deep grasp of policies to be unappetizing. In the primaries my first choice was Walker, then Fiorina, then Cruz (I actually voted for Cruz in the primary.) When Trump became the candidate, I began to look for reasons to vote for him rather than Johnson. When he came up with a list of conservative judges to select his SCOTUS picks from and I saw that he could secure the border without much help from Congress, my decision was made.

    I believe that Hillary will win. It may be very close, but the Dems have a way of finding enough voters in the right precincts to ensure victory. (A nice way to say that they cheat.) At this point I’m much more interested in planning my moves for when HRC becomes President than I am in worrying about the drama of the election.
    It’s almost over. Thank goodness.

    There are many issues afoot overseas (re-taking Mosul, Iran/Russia/Assad in Syria, Iran’s ICBM developments, North Korea’s nuke program, the fortified Chinese Islands in the South China Sea, the apparent end of amicable relations with the Philippines, etc.) that are more interesting to me these days.

  11. Judith L. Says:

    I can’t remember when I last watched tv news. I did listen to Prager, Medved and Hewitt on talk radio until halfway into this election cycle. But for quite some time, I haven’t been able to bear listening to a discussion of what has been happening. I do read a number of blogs–including this one–every day. I’m still not sure how I will vote next Tues in the presidential race. I won’t be voting for HRC, but whether to write in or vote for Trump, I haven’t yet decided.

  12. Janetoo Says:

    I am so with you Armymom. I am not nearly the junkie I used to be. I have also turned to HG station (CHIP AND JOANNA!) and I listen to books on Audible. So much better than TV. I rarely watch TV anymore. I only read a handful of blogs and even that number is diminishing. I can see myself drifting away from politics if Hillary wins as I consider the country gone if that happens.

  13. huxley Says:

    I haven’t watched TV regularly since I left home for college.

    I surf the web plenty for news but TV news is so slow and annoying I hardly know the names of any of the anchors. Occasionally I watch a video clip linked by a blog.

  14. Susanamantha Says:

    I watch Fox News once or twice a day, usually 5:00pm-7:00pm. I like the Fox News Sunday show, aired a few times on Sunday. Rarely watch CNN, never the networks ABC, CBS, NBC.

    Our local newspaper has become so shrunken that it barely covers local news, much less national or world news, and that is with a leftish slant. Bad headlines, poor editing.

    I check several online news/commentary sources daily and listen to Rush a few times a week. I do miss Neal Boortz’ radio show out of Atlanta. He was a crackerjack of a commentator. a true conservative.

  15. roc scssrs Says:

    Mainly I do drudge, realclearpolitics, hotair, then day-old Wall St. Journals in print. Local TV news at night for the weather and to find out who shot who. I wasn’t enjoying this election at all till I realized it was October and an awful lot of people were still discussing primary losses and how awful Trump was. I read and considered some alternative views. Then I noticed all the Trump signs–on normally quiet lawns–in my middle middle class neighborhood. For the first time in the 15 years I’ve lived here in a supposed “battleground” suburb, a Republican actually knocked on my door–and asked me to vote for Trump. Something is going on out here. Trump is giving people– hope. Hope and change, that’s what they wanted, right? They haven’t gotten it, so maybe it’s the GOP’s turn after all. So now I’m excited, though in a stomach-churning way.

  16. Big Maq Says:

    “Bias is the easiest to filter out, maybe due to our years of experience. It’s easy to spot.” – Nick

    Sometimes not, as it may be a matter of omission.

  17. expat Says:

    My husband turns on the news channels in the evening. I sit down on the sofa with my laptop. I can’t stand the TV news. We get CNN, BBC, CNBC, Bloomberg, France 24, and the German stations. I usually know what is being reported before the TV people open their mouths. It is like hearing NYT headlines repeated over and over with no depth. And don’t even ask me about the CNN International self promotion videos. I’m actually rather surprised I haven’t thrown a hammer through the screen when Christiane Amanpour tells everyone how great she is for the third time in one evening.
    I’ve also cut out a lot of blogs because they have become shouting matches and frequently push ill-informed info.
    I really prefer to spend my time with people who think like Neo.

  18. Big Maq Says:

    Local news, and even that is mostly fire and crime. Sometimes catch network morning programs for a wee bit. Do indulge in some Sunday morning programs. Radio when driving. Rest is online.

    Dropped matt sludge completely out of my online cycle shortly after trump announced, as his headlines were grossly overboard pro trump – mimicking brietbarf.

    RCP has provided a MUCH better balance of opinion articles – and has many more topical areas covered – Future, Policy, etc.. – and carries the average of polls. Don’t much go for their “Changing Lanes” video format though, perhaps because it is hard to skim or skip through parts.

  19. Jim Doherty Says:

    I stopped watching as well. It became obvious to me that all the networks do not give a damn about the future of this country and are only concerned with their ratings. Thats show business not journalism. So the hell with them. Fox especially, with their championing trump only to help the others spike him once the general was underway. All too predictable, and done before.

  20. Mayan Says:

    Television is an inefficient means of information delivery. In the time it takes to watch a news programme, I can skim through several news websites, reading what seems interesting, while skipping anything to do sport or celebrities.

    Television works well for passive entertainment. Cable and free-to-air television both ruined their experience with gratuitous advertising, so now I head to streaming services. Of course, much of what politicians do in campaigns caters to that entertainment angle. Political rallies are a form of televised concert, in which a performer plays her or his audience for people watching at home.

    There’s still radio, too, especially if you live where there is good news/current affairs coverage.

  21. Nick Says:

    I agree about RCP. I don’t check into the Real Clear sites as often as I should, but I like what I’ve seen.

    Expat, you nailed that bizarre cult-of-personality thing that CNN is trying to go for. The ads are saying – and nearly in these words – “watch my show because I’m admirable”.

  22. parker Says:

    The web is where I get my news. I stopped watching TV news so long ago I can’t remember the last time I watched a news program.

  23. Ann Says:

    C.S. Lewis, writing in 1955: “I never read the papers. Why does anyone? They’re nearly all lies, and one has to wade thru’ such reams of verbiage and ‘write up’ to find out even what they’re saying.”

    Imagine what he’d have to say about CNN et al.

  24. Nick Says:

    Oh, does anyone around here visit DailyWire? It’s got a little bit of Daily Caller “hey look at me” attitude, but it’s pretty good. I’ve also been listening to Ben Shapiro’s podcasts occasionally.

  25. Big Maq Says:

    @expat – there does seem to be a uniformity in left leaning viewpoint from much of the news, even internationally, in my experience.

    Still, BBC, ABC Australia, DW English, and NHK English do provide some outside perspective looking back into the US, that one just doesn’t have with much of US based media.

  26. Brian E Says:

    I haven’t watched any TV opinion shows for several years, but when I do, I try and always catch some of CNN.

    By the way, CNN actually has news broadcasts as they have (or used to have) news bureaus, biased though they may be.

    Fox is mostly opinion/editorial shows. Fox business channel isn’t too bad.

    I think you need some exposure to liberal/leftist POV to understand them. It’s harder on the internet because most liberal websites are so foul, though I always read comments as long as I can stand.
    There are right wing web sites that are almost as foul.
    Our culture has definitely coarsened.

  27. Gringo Says:

    Television is an inefficient means of information delivery. In the time it takes to watch a news programme, I can skim through several news websites, reading what seems interesting, while skipping anything to do sport or celebrities.

    Agreed. You can assimilate information faster by reading than by watching TV. The commercials were also a big irritant.

    I stopped watching TV news decades ago. I recall watching McNeil Lehrer News Hour on the 1990 elections in Nicaragua, where the Sandinistas lost. At least they didn’t have all those ads.

    I do read sports news re NE teams. I no longer hold the political views of my NE childhood, but I remain a fan of NE sports teams. Though I don’t follow the Sox much any more- the curse is over.

  28. J.J. Says:

    Brian E: “Our culture has definitely coarsened.”

    I believe the coarseness on the internet is due to the anonymity of it. Many people say things about and to other people that they wouldn’t dare to say face to face or even in a letter or e-mail.

    Whenever I write an e-mail to my Congress Critters, I try to say my piece in a manner as if we were face to face. If people tried to do that more on the net, things would be a tad more polite.

    Janetoo: My wife and I watch Chip and Joanna on HGTV too. What a great couple. I love their story and the way they are getting wealthy by working hard and enjoying what they do.

    Mayan: “Television is an inefficient means of information delivery. In the time it takes to watch a news programme, I can skim through several news websites, reading what seems interesting, while skipping anything to do sport or celebrities.”

    I wish I was as handy with the electronic gizmos as younger people are. I grew up before TV. Radio only. I still remember our family clustered around our radio on December 11, 1941. I never really got used to TV until around 1979, when we could finally afford a color TV. I really appreciated CNN during Desert Storm. They covered it well, IMO. I didn’t discover Fox News and Rush until 1995 during the Clinton years. That’s when I started watching the cable news networks regularly. Since Obama came along I cannot watch any of the TV news except Fox. And that with a critical eye.

    Jim Doherty: “It became obvious to me that all the networks do not give a damn about the future of this country and are only concerned with their ratings. ”

    True dat. If it bleeds it leads. Or now many of them do SJW type programming to show how compassionate they are. We should always listen or watch knowing that fact.

  29. Brian E Says:

    “I believe the coarseness on the internet is due to the anonymity of it. Many people say things about and to other people that they wouldn’t dare to say face to face or even in a letter or e-mail.”- jj

    Maybe Google could put that on their home page!

    That is so true. I find myself getting snarky from time to time, looking to score a point now and then, but usually try and control myself. I usually realize I’ve done it right after I hit send.

  30. Sam L. Says:

    No TV news for me. No paper news, either. Those I’ve seen are lying to me.

  31. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    I haven’t voluntarily watched national news in years, decades probably.

    Local news? sure, on occasion. Usually just the parts before the weather comes on. In the modern times, I don’t need to, as I can hit the station’s web site and watch specific stories that interest me, so…

  32. Nick Says:

    J.J. – You do realize that referring to your elected representatives as sub-human is coarse, right?

  33. sdferr Says:

    Always on the lookout to help coarsen the culture, a straight up patch of burlap: In Trutina

  34. blert Says:

    Huma Abedin is directly linked to Salafist fanatics — by her immediate family and by her personal history.

  35. J.J. Says:

    Nick: “You do realize that referring to your elected representatives as sub-human is coarse, right?”

    Right. My coarseness is showing. Gotta get with my program. 🙂

  36. JuliB Says:

    I haven’t watched TV news in decades (except involuntarily at airports, etc). I’ve gotten nearly all my news online for years. I subscribe to the Chicago Trib mainly for the coupons. When I skim the news section, it’s all old.

    I read the Daily Mail daily. But I mainly just skim the headlines.

    Brian E said: “I think you need some exposure to liberal/leftist POV to understand them.”

    I have no need to be exposed to that via the news since I live in their world and hear their talking points from colleagues, and read it on Facebook. I can probably explain their viewpoints better than they can.

  37. The Other Chuck Says:

    ArmyMom and JanetToo, I’m with you. When in a masochistic mood I’ll watch Rachel Maddow or listen to Rush. Other than that the regular opinion shows leave me cold, especially Bill O’Reilly. As to network news, haven’t watched it in years. And I’m getting fed up with Drudge even though he’s the best of the bunch. If he doesn’t stop with the links to Infowars and pushing Michael Savage, I’ll eventually drop him too. No, I’ll stop trusting him which is worse.

  38. David Swadell Says:

    No TV news for years. Why waste my time seeing watching narcissistic morons propagandizing for bigots? Have relied for years on RCP, Powerline, PJ, National Review and Commentary online to help me stay informed about public affairs, plus friends’ Facebook posts. Recently (2 years ago?) discovered “neo” and check Jean’s site almost daily. Don’t give a damn about sports and “entertainment” news.

  39. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    Did you know I was once on the Michael Savage show? Yes, indeed, I was. Listen here.

  40. Simon Says:

    We cut the cord (as people call it now) back in 2006. We also can’t get over-the-air reception from our apartment, so we’ve been without TV news for a decade. After all this time, when we occasionally do watch it, in an airport, or at the mother-in-law’s, it is difficult to believe how bad it is. The newscasters look like they are made of plastic, the studios are a gaudy mess and the drivel that comes out of their mouths is stultifying. It’s a wonder anybody watches it any more.

  41. The Other Chuck Says:

    Neo, you are indeed a brave one to go on Savage. It was a pleasure to hear you and totally unexpected without the NY accent. I’ve had a love/hate affair with Savage for years. He’s like a secret evil addition. Right after 9/11 though, he was a lifeline. One very memorable show, the next day I think, some guy phoned in obviously in a state of shock, on the verge of losing it. Savage handled it like a trained counselor, talking him down, and in the process giving comfort to untold thousands across the country in the same state.

    You handle yourself very, very well. Some of us need prep time and the delete key to achieve what you do seamlessly without script.

  42. The Other Chuck Says:

    should be “addiction”, duh!

  43. Clark Says:

    First time commenter here. Nothing new to add except to note my surprise at how many of you stopped watching the broadcast and cable news programs long before this election cycle.

    The last time I remember watching TV news was during the first Iraq war when I would watch ABC news and then Fox News and it was fascinating to observe their editing of the same “facts” from the battlefields. I figured then that I got a reasonably clear idea of what was happening by combining the two reports.

    I haven’t watched TV news or subscribed to the local metro newspaper for close to 20 years now. Instead I read the key selections at RCP and visit blogs whose authors I trust (like neo).

    Perhaps I’m deluding myself but I honestly believe I have better knowledge of what’s going on in the world than my peers who only rely on msm.

    Ann…thanks for the C.S. Lewis quote. It’s good to be reminded that the problem isn’t a new one. Do you wonder how Lewis and other’s got reliable information? Perhaps they stuck to more basic issues than “the daily news” and that’s why they’re still worth reading.

  44. Sgt. Mom Says:

    I never watched TV news, much, unless it was in the line of duty before I retired from the Air Force. I used to be a pretty heavy NPR listener, mostly because I appreciated the fact that they were not operating under the time constraints that a news program must have. I started following news on the internet pretty heavily after 9/11, though … and within a couple of years, I dropped NPR – mostly because I could see the subtle ways in which they framed their version of the news. I could hear how warm or cold the reporters and announcers voices became when they dealt with certain topics or people. I realized that they also had the same “Golden Rolodex” of pre-chosen experts to “explain” to us dullards in the audience. I noticed this most particularly when it came to the Tea Party, in 2009 or so – they invariably went to some over-credentialed academic drone, who would solemnly intone the pre-digested (and usually quite wrong) tropes … they never bothered to actually go out and talk to actual Tea Partiers, until later.
    We dropped the local newspaper a couple of years after that, and three years ago we bagged cable and got a roku box. Like certain commenters above – I scan various web sources for the news.

  45. steve.c Says:

    I was working myself away from TV “reporting” ~15 years ago, but the hard cut came from the Crowley “correction” of Mitt. That one convinced me that any form of establishment media is an exercise in deception. To this day, if I walk into the house and TV “news” happens to be on, I either shut it off or leave the room.

    I used to be a die-hard NPR listener too, and that one frayed to the breaking point somewhere around 2005.

    Today, I just rely on a carefully cultivated set of RSS feeds (and Neo’s site is one of a couple hundred), plus a few aggregators such as RCP for information. Even then, there’s a lot of “reading through”.

    I know there’s a lot of folks saying it’ll all be over after Tuesday. Sorry to have to say it, but the real mess is just getting started, no matter which way this election goes. This election is just one disconnected symptom of a deep rot, not any kind of root cause of anything.

  46. Ken Mitchell Says:

    I not only don’t watch TV “news” programs, I don’t watch TV AT ALL any more. It’s all drivel, pre-packaged garbage from the Left, completely unbelievable. The “entertainment” fare is formulaic and boring, and not at all “entertainment”.

    That’s probably just me sliding into my dotage as a curmudgeon, but everything there is dross. I’m well rid of it.

  47. sdferr Says:

    “My First Ameriphobe”, by Lionel Chetwynd, at the Daily Wire. Go, find, read.

  48. eve Says:

    I quit listening to NPR a few years ago when they did a story on how negative the Republican ads were in a presidential election. I decided then that they would NEVER do a story on how negative Democrat ads are. Clear bias.

  49. neo-neocon Says:

    The Other Chuck:

    Thanks! Actually, many years ago I used to do weekly podcasts for PJ Media with three other bloggers, and I became accustomed to that sort of format and trying to sound coherent without preparation. As far as the NY accent goes, see this.

  50. Francesca Says:

    Sports. This is exactly the reason for sports. One must have some escape from the burdens of daily life, and this year, even more from the wretchedness of the political scene.
    I, too, have gotten to the point that I can only tolerate reading the news to spare myself the arrogance, the bias, the pompousness, the ignorance of the talking heads.
    I already miss baseball. The NFL is unwatchable. The NBA is beyond boring. Hockey is good.

  51. Francesca Says:

    Large potted plants at the airport. I always find one to sit behind in order to hide from CNN.

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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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