A dinosaur appeared on my TV last night. There I was watching the 20/20 special report on internet TV (which was quite good, I thought), when they went and executed Saddam Hussein. The bulletin was appropriate; it was big news.
But then ABC preempted the 20/20 special to provide us with 40 minutes of canned historical crap and pre-produced “reaction” that caused me to change the channel.
I wanted to watch the regular program. I did not want to watch the “breaking news” report. This is why God made cable news channels, and if I’d wanted more information, I could’ve switched to one of them or turned to the very entity that the 20/20 report was about in the first place.
I realize it’s heresy to suggest that the news division of a broadcast network NOT interrupt programming for such, but what ABC did last night was to further alienate viewers who are increasingly able to make their own viewing choices. Hello! This is the new world of media, not the broadcasting days of old when networks had to be all things to all people.
ABC should at least make the 20/20 program available online, but that’s not the point. Broadcast network news becomes a net liability when it does things like this, because the entire world is moving in a different direction. 20/20 is produced by the news division, and I guess somebody thought the interruption was more newsworthy. Unfortunately, the process that makes those decisions appears to be living in the distant past.
And the sad thing is that the more this kind of thing happens, the faster it moves everybody to the tar pits.