A new era in news media was initiated on June 1, 1980, when Ted Turner established CNN with the objective to telecast news 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This new idea did not catch on in the beginning, and the company took a hit financially. Some called it “Chicken Noodle Network,” but Turner’s determination and money kept it going.
Until the time of the Persian Gulf War, the main sources of news nationally were the three major networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, which aired the news every evening. The competition for ratings was mostly among these three networks.
But the culture of receiving and telecasting the news from different news outlets changed dramatically in January 1991. It was at that fateful moment when a contingent of reporters from CNN took up residence in a hotel in Baghdad to report live action of the war to a mesmerized audience in the U.S.
Live video of the war was being aired through the satellite with dramatic reporting by CNN journalists, who were at the same time trying to avoid being killed by a stray bomb. This action-thriller was watched by millions of Americans all over the nation, and overnight, CNN became the main news channel, leaving its competition in the dust.
During the Vietnam War in the 1960s, journalists reported news from the battlefield as well, but by the time it was aired, it had already became an old item. First the news item was filmed; audio was incorporated, edited, censored and then flown to the U.S. via Japan. Even then, the daily barrage of tragedies of war shown on television immensely swayed public opinion in the country.
Since this first chapter in the history of live television with 24 hours of news reporting, things have changed in the character and attitude of the people who are responsible for running these news channels. The temperament of news anchors and their producers has changed, so that there is less news and more opinions. Almost every personality on these news channels has become like a spin doctor.
During President Barack Obama’s tenure, Fox News had the highest rating because of its programs, which were in opposition to that government, and now CNN has better ratings due to its opposition to the present administration. The sad reality is that whoever makes the reporting of the news more vindictive wins the ratings game.
All this rancor in 24-hour news has created a misfortune that will affect millennials the most. Nobody is reading the newspaper anymore, and one by one they are vanishing due to financial loss that they cannot endure anymore. Almost all the time, newspapers vet and scrutinize whatever news they print. Most of the stories in the newspaper are news, and a small portion of its stories are opinion columns.
If one has to learn about the news, then it is better to read a newspaper than to listen to a show on a 24-hour news channel, as this will make one more literate than indulging in drama.