Tuesday, October 20

Embarrassing Face of the Nation

The public TV station I receive shows a series of news reports from around the world with a doubled voice-over (so that you hear both the original and the Japanese interpretation), each 15 or 30 minutes in length. Consistently, the ABC broadcast comes off looking, in comparison, like Teen Magazine presented by a bunch of serious looking men and pin-up girls. It is truly the most embarrassing awareness of being an American that I ever experience. This last week was so bad, I felt ashamed to leave my apartment for a few hours after the program came to an end. There was the boy-in-the-balloon hoax, pursued as if it were a matter of national security, then a drawn-out investigation into John McCain's daughter having shared a picture revealing her cleavage on some social networking site. This was preceded and followed by other nations reporting on climate change, terrorist attacks, international summits and the like: the sort of stuff traditionally associated with the word "news." The American programming included a few other pieces of fluff that were so insubstantial that I cannot even recall what they were about. And of course there was the chitchat to top it all off and make everyone feel good.

No wonder why Jon Stewart is so funny. His writers have an embarrassment of material. And corporate news in the US is now a parody of itself to the point where I'd be pressed to distinguish much of it from the Onion's intended parody.