Tuesday, March 30, 2010

News Junkie (Updated)

What can I say I am a news junkie ! As a young child I liked reading history books and one day it dawned on me "history" is being made every day. I remember going to the Coos County Fair in Myrtle Point, Oregon in 1961 and Radio Station KWRO from Coquille had a Teletype machine set up in a fair booth so the general public could watch the news be printed out from the Associated Press(AP) or United Press International(UPI) on long rolls of paper. My folks were working the fair so I spent a great deal of time just standing there watching the raw news be printed out on those rolls of paper for the week of the fair. That is how radio stations and newspapers got their news in those day. I remember it was the summer of 1961 because the big story was the building of the Berlin Wall that August. I thought to myself It would be great if I could have one of those machines for my room so I could follow the news and not be dependant on the short, on the hour, news broadcasts of radio or the nightly network news broadcast on TV.

By the 1980's I was still an addict. I would get up in the morning and as I got ready for work I would watch Good Morning America on ABC or the Today Show on NBC. When I got home from work I would watch the ABC Nightly News and turn the channel over and watch CBS or NBC news as the news broadcasts were staggered so you could watch two broadcasts. I would then watch the McNeil-Lehrer News Hour on PBS and cap off the night with Nightline on ABC. On Friday nights I would watch the The McLaughlin Group on PBS and on Sunday This Week With David Brinkley on ABC and Meet the Press on NBC if they had a good guest. I had a subscription to the Medford Mail Tribune newspaper and the Portland Oregonian. Almost daily I would buy the San Francisco Chronicle from a news box near my office.I would also stop by the public library to read the Eugene Register Guard for news about the Oregon Ducks, the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and the New York Times. I would also check out the latest issue of National Review Magazine.

That all changed with Cable News Stations and the Internet. FOX NEWS is now may major source of television news. I turn it on when I get up and turn it off when it is time for local news at 11 PM. If I am home it's on unless I am watching a movie or a sports event. Occasionally I will watch a TV show such at Friday Night Lights or House MD.On week nights when I get home from work I watch Bill O'Reilly, then Shawn Hannity and then Greta Vans Susteren.FOX NEWS then repeats the three shows and I watch again in case I misses something while doing a household chore or was talking to my wife. On weekends unless it is sports or a movie it's FOX NEWS. I leave it on as background in case there is a breaking emergency. I almost never watch the TV broadcast networks for News and rarely watch CNN and NEVER watch MSNBC. I do watch local TV news for local news sports and weather.

I have ended all my newspaper subsections except for the Medford Mail Tribune for local news.

I now have that "teletype machine" in my bedroom and at the office. It's called the Internet. My favorite news websites are; Realclear Politics. com, Politco.com, National Review online, Weeklystandard.com, and of course the Drudge Report.

I get the AP on my Yahoo home page for what it is worth and for Oregon Duck sports news it's Ducksportsnews.com. For newspaper news I go to the Oregonian at Oregonlive.com.the Eugene Register Guard's web site and Medford Mail Tribune's web sites.

When I first started following the news I first started to detect a liberal bias in 1960 when the press loved JFK. In 1964 it was clear they hated Barry Goldwater. However, the AP was very good.... just the facts. Up through the 1980's the newsrooms of America were still inhabited by old fashioned editors and many news people who still believed there job was just to report the news. As those news people retired or died off the baby boom generation started to take over the newsrooms and brought with them advocacy journalism that they had learned in the journalism schools in the turbulent years of the 1960's and on up to the present. Many wanted to be the next "Woodward & Bernstein" and bring a Republican President down. They now with a few exceptions control the major newspapers and the broadcast and cable TV news organizations with the exception of FOX NEWS.

However, the "Old Media" has become the dinosaurs of the past. Newspapers are losing circulation and having to lay off employees. The broadcast news shows have lost much of their power and viewers. CNN and MSNBC together do not approach the viewership of FOX NEWS. People now get their news and analyses from the Internet and from Talk Radio. It's a new world and I like it.