That’s why God made cable news

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.


  1. thedetroitchannel says

    i didn’t even know 20/20 was doing a piece about iptv, but i know this execution of saddam came as no surprise to the networks and cable operators as they all had plenty of bullshit ready to run on the subject.

    not one of them showed saddam wearing his detroit tigers baseball cap either. that cap was given to him on an official trip to the united states back in the early 80’s. he was also one of the last people to be given the “key to the city” by then mayor coleman young. he was once a very close “friend” of the US.

    not many seem to remember that though.

    so, how was the piece on internet television?

  2. Hey tdc.…you are right. When I look at things like the picture of Saddam Hussein shaking hands with Rummy not so long ago (I’m not that old, and I was in elementary school when that picture was taken) and read the open letter that his attorney, Ramsey Clark, asked him to write, um, while I’m certain that his execution represented justice, I do wonder what that man knew that will now never be told.….

    Sometimes I think life was easier when pre-packaged TV talking heads crap and wishy-washy newspaper “balanced” coverage was all we had. A lot less disturbing. But that’s the price we pay for empowerment, I suppose.

  3. thedetroitchannel says

    one other thing- before those pictures of your trip to amman start to slip off the page, might you consider doing a thumbnail in the nav bar?

    i have to say, i really enjoyed your trip over there. thanks for taking the time to let us share in it.

  4. Terry,

    Another really good take. It also seems ironic because the cable news channels have rendered the phrases, “Breaking News,” ” Developing Story,” and “Flash News,” as almost farcical.