What Goes Around...

April 10, 2018

I don't spend much time in the TV room here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. I've written about that before here and nothing has really changed. I still don't have a chair, and I don't want one, as it's a rarity that anything is shown on any of the room's 7 TV's that interests me. However, I do watch TV every morning before work, as most of the seats are vacant. From where I sit, there are 3 TV's in front of me providing completely different perspectives on the world. The audio from each TV is broadcast via radio frequency which can be heard through my radio ear buds. So I can easily switch the audio between Fox, ABC and CNN while watching all 3. It's the ultimate channel surfing experience.

 

I get a unique view of America with this experiment, simultaneously watching all three network's interpretation of the morning news. CNN spends a majority of its early morning air time trying to convince me how Donald Trump and other real Republicans are responsible for all our problems. Fox focuses its wrath on the democrats, throwing in an occasional conspiracy theory. Fox is trying its best to like Trump, but still struggling to figure him out. ABC is more in the middle of these two extremes, but with an obvious anti-Trump bias, like CNN. Were it not for the need to also watch ESPN on the 4th TV, I could throw CBS or NBC into the mix.

 

While we as Americans enjoy freedoms that give us access to more information than we can possibly consume, the news is not free. It's paid for by advertisers who can now target their products toward a particular demographic subculture. Is there a bias in the way the news is reported based on the targeted demographic, or is the viewer demographic a result of the network bias? That, I don't know. I don't think the bias is necessarily sinister, but it is real, and we ignore it at our peril. I'm convinced, after 31 months of experimentation, that none of these three networks provide anything near a complete picture of what's going on in this country and around the world.

 

Before I came here, I sponsored "Morning Edition" on my local National Public Radio station. Oddly, I never listened to it, not even once. I would never have thought this until my forced morning news experiment, but the most thorough and unbiased news every morning is provided by NPR on that very program. I know this because I now finally listen to it every morning, after I leave the TV room. Who knew? Again it's not free either, but most of its funding comes from donors, like I used to be. 

 

So maybe what goes around, does in fact come around...sometimes, in a good way.

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones