Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Must Scream TV

I tried to watch some CNN last night and this morning to see what Rita might be doing to the Gulf Coast. While the wind-swept correspondents ducking debris is clearly cheesy sensationalism, I kind of enjoy it. What I can't stand are the idiot anchors back in Atlanta--Soledad O'Brien, Paula Zahn, Larry King, and others (I actually find Aaron Brown to be somewhat tolerable). The worst part is their interminable questions--here's a composite based on what I saw a hundred times:
Soledad: We go now to Sean Baker in Galveston (picture of Sean with his CNN raincoat fluttering in the wind). Sean what's going on in Galveston? We've seen projections for days that Galveston may take the brunt of the storm, but now it appears as though it might be spared, might not get the full brunt, of the storm as we had all feared. There certainly must be some sense of relief there in Galveston, even though we all know this is far from over. So tell us, Sean, what's going on in Galveston?

Sean: That's right, Soledad. As you can see, the wind and rain are pretty strong here in downtown Galveston, but not as...

Soledad: Sean...let me interrupt for a moment. We all know that Galveston was devastated by a hurricane in 1900, the worst natural disaster in US history, and we've all been hoping and indeed praying that it doesn't face that kind of devastation again, even though many experts have been predicting it this week, with a huge storm surge topping that sea wall. So, Sean, tell us more about what's going on there--I know it has already been a long night for you.

Sean: Yes it has, Soledad. We have reports of a fire in the downtown area...

Soledad: Hold that thought, Sean, the mayor of Beaumont is speaking to the media, and we're going to go there right after this break. This is CNN.
And while Soledad and Paula bring new meaning to the words "creepy" and "rude," Larry King adds several dictionary entries to the word "oblivious." If the eighth pilot he had interviewed hadn't been watching the Jet Blue landing Wednesday night while talking to Larry, Larry would have missed the landing entirely. CNN's coverage, while featuring the stunning live video, was almost completely content-free otherwise. They kept showing live shots of the plane in the air, without any context--where is the camera, which way is it pointed, how far is the plane from LAX, what is its altitude? This is also a major problem with CNN's hurricane coverage. They're constantly showing video of wind, rain, flooding, devastation, etc., and almost never indicate where or when the video was taken. Even the idiot anchors don't seem to know whether the video is live or just a replay from earlier. With all the tools they have at their disposal, CNN could provide both tons of information and compelling entertainment, but they generally fail to do either.