By Dom Serafini

Recently, while trimming my hair, Boris, my barber in New York City, solemnly announced that he had stopped watching, listening, or reading the news. “It’s too stressful,” he explained. “There is only bad news, whether in Europe with that crazy Vlad [Vladimir Putin], in the Middle East with the Hamas terrorists, in Asia with a dictator who wants to invade Taiwan, and with the U.S. in the midst of a presidential confrontation between a dotard and a psychopath.” He then continued: “Add to that a Supreme Court justice who flies the American flag upside down, and another justice who received monetary gifts from a billionaire. It’s too much to absorb and digest.” It was only logical to assume that the news gave Boris indigestion, which in the press we call “agita.”

The day after Boris’ tirade, on May 30, 2024, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece titled “A Three-Day Detox Nearly Cured My Cable News Addiction.” In it, the author explained that “when my television broke, I found unexpected peace in not having to hear the name Trump or Biden.”

Then, there was the news that two of the 12 jurors who convicted former president Donald Trump on 34 counts of indictments do not follow the news at all. One was even quoted as saying: “I don’t like news or newspapers.”

Now, news is one of the few key programs left for broadcast and cable networks who are looking to attract audiences (the other is sports, with reality shows, talk shows, and game shows filling in the rest of their schedules). And so, in the U.S., we now have local news and national news galore, anytime and everywhere. We even have news for all tastes. Conservatives have FOX News. Liberals have MSNBC. And moderates can tune in to CNN. National broadcasts of TV news try to be fair and in the process tend to enrage everyone evenly. The metro news outlets (like Spectrum’s NY One) in 41 cities in 13 states focus on city-wide info.

On weekdays, broadcast TV news is a staple in the mornings, in late afternoons, in the evenings (with national news), and in the late night hours. Also popular are entertainment news programs (like the syndicated Extra, Entertainment Tonight, and NBC’s Access Hollywood). On weekends, Americans also consume a steady diet of news programs and news magazine features.

In the final analysis, news, as TV broadcast’s main staple, is here to stay until the world over shows some good sense, which, frankly, is never going to happen.

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