Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Rant #1,272: Mixing News and Entertainment
I want to write today about a disturbing trend that I have seen happening, at least locally, with news broadcasts in my neck of the woods.
I will bet the trend is a national one, and it is pretty disturbing.
Sports presents a fine line for local newscasts, because it is both news and entertainment rolled into one.
Baseball, football, basketball and hockey, and all the other sports, are entertainment, but they also produce headlines, as any news topic does.
But when you mix the entertainment aspect of sports with hard news, well, you may have gone over the line.
Well over the line.
CBS is taking a gamble with its fall schedule. It has slated several weeks of NFL football games on Thursday nights, normally its biggest night of comedy during the week.
What this basically means is that it is displacing TV's top comedy, "The Big Bang Theory," moving it to another night while it shows football in its place.
This is a major gamble, because by doing so, you lose a lot of audience which tunes in to laugh, but, of course, you also pick up a lot of audience, which wants to watch football.
Nonetheless, it is a gamble, because CBS is shifting around one of its biggest moneymakers by showing football on Thursday, and when that schedule is done, they plan to shift their comedies back to that day, right in the middle of the broadcast season.
It is confusing for the viewer.
But what is even more confusing is that CBS is promoting its Thursday night football not just by having its entertainment stars pushing the schedule, but its news people too.
Locally, several of the news people are being featured in a commercial for Thursday night football, resplendent in football jerseys and lamp black under their eyes.
I cannot locate the commercial now, but if you live in the New York area and watch TV, you have undoubtedly seen it.
By doing so, CBS has inextricably linked news with entertainment, making them one, and I don't know about you, but I find it kind of offputting when one of its news anchors, Kristine Johnson, is shown in the commercial with her jersey and face paint on, and she closes the commercial with a close up of her face.
This is not "Entertainment Tonight" we are talking about here. Johnson is one of the local anchors who reports on stuff like the racial tension in Missouri, the events in the Middle East, and the random shootings that occurred in New York City this past weekend.
Her, and the other news people's, appearances in these ads takes away their street cred, if you will, and dilutes their abilities and talents as news people.
It puts them on the same level as any actor in any show on CBS, an entertainer and nothing more.
I do believe that Edward R. Murrow is spinning in his grave at the site of news people being used in purely entertainment situations, and well, I am not in the grave yet, but it really roils me when I see this happening.
CBS has every right to promote its Thursday night football lineup, but it is really going into dangerous waters when it uses local news people as participants in its promotions.
The next thing you know, they will actually be doing the broadcasts in football jerseys and lamp black, and don't think that time isn't coming.
It most certainly is.
Posted by Larry at 1:48 AM