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Same News Is No News

by Amy Zidell

7.13.00

I complain silently, to myself about news bits and bites that repeat throughout a news day, over a news station, trickling into radio, TV, print and Internet news sources. That is unless it's a story you're actually interested in. If you're lucky, very lucky, dedicated, obsessed and have no life, you might be able to track down details on a news story you want to know about.

Of course the time I'm driving, listening to the news and catch just that last part of a story I'm actually interested in, is the time this redundancy is not in effect even if I had all my radio buttons set to news channels and not just two. Look, it's a classic analog, AM/FM sliding frequency switch original Oldsmobile, wire-in-windshield radio. Usually two AM news stations are enough, however radio frequencies and news sources in Los Angeles, aren't the problem in question. I don't know if it's a news demon at work, a union issue, or if behind the scenes there's a secret news story draw or tenure thing at work.

I typically blamed the news providers for this repetitive news problem. Or, the people directing the programming of the news. It would seem that in this wide wide world we live in, there would be an abundance of newsworthiness out there, so much so that it should be near impossible to hear, or read a news story twice as the news highways should theoretically be so clogged with new news that the old news wouldn't be news anymore -- broadband or not. Rather it's much like find chicken chunks in "Chicken Flavored" soup: unpleasant, tiresome, frequently fruitless. The watered down, broken fragments that are found are hard to identify and offer little satisfaction.

I was scanning my Internet news page with the headlines from the subjects I'm interested in not finding any hints of the story I almost heard, or anything of much interest and spot this top Entertainment Headline:
"Conger: Fox TV Appearance a Mistake"

The sad thing is that I know exactly what this is about and I don't need a Trade Paper translation service. I shake my head. Darva Conger, the 'Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire? (and when, by the way when did this become 'Who Want To Marry A Multi-Millionaire?') Bride, is apparently saying the appearance on the FOX TV show was a mistake. Again. Now please tell me who hasn't already heard this close to a dozen dare I say a multi-million times already? I'm irritated that I heard just the closing tag line about a story about a trial I'm trying to follow, and yet I know that Darva Conger is probably talking about this mistake TV appearance with yet another audience that wants to listen, that was likely found living under rocks in a remote desert location, because any publicity is good publicity, and the more Playboys that sell with her nakedness in them, the more money she makes.

Now I don't have anything against Darva Conger. She went on a TV show and embarrassed herself. There are people that would sell their souls for just that opportunity. It's called Hollywood and the format is commonly referred to as a Pilot. Darva Conger must be an entertainment savant; she's made a million from a cancelled show that's not been syndicated. She seems to be doing just fine. My only advice to her is to switch lipstick color to the one that was used in the Playboy photo shoots that have been televised and to drop the red number. Even with an unfortunate lipstick choice prominently displayed during a recent Larry King visit, (quite obvious even with a less than 5 second remote control zap-through), the public can't seem to get enough of her. And that's really the problem.

Since I've not heard anything new, I conclude that the public is either suffering from a severely limited attention span, or, has chronic, insufferable pointless hope optimism complex, a condition typically characterized by individuals who when faced with an unending pile of manure will continue to dig, on their hands and knees, certain they WILL find a pony.

I don't blame news providers anymore. I don't blame a conflagration of news sources so-called and otherwise. Ultimately what is available for us to hear, read and access is based upon what we listen to, read or access. What isn't used atrophies and wanes away. Intellectual property Darwinism -- where the fittest is determined by what gets the most support. Call it ratings, call it advertising revenue, call it market research, call it money. What isn't used gets tossed, and sometimes too quickly. So when we hear that walking helps people's health, fifteen times a day, for a week, on every available news source, it's either because we're complete idiots and forget the other fourteen times we've heard this recent report (and the umpteen other times the similar 'news' story has surfaced), or, we're complete optimists hoping to hear more news and new information about this story even after we've heard the same limited information fourteen times. The real problem may be figuring out the difference between the two. Gotta go, the news is about to come on.


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