Screen Captures is a feature written byâ€¦me. The fancy description says itâ€™s a study of various headline â€œteaserâ€ graphics found on cable news outlets that analyzes a sample for bias or note-worthy content.
But really, I just want to look at what theyâ€™re putting on the screen and see whatâ€™s good and whatâ€™s garbage. For the week ending 05-12-07:
â€œA Toast to the Kingâ€â€”CNN. Apparently, CNN wanted to celebrate Larry Kingâ€™s 50 years in journalism by hyping it for about 50 years. This headline was originally seen the previous week; they ran it that many times. They also hawked DVDs and aired a number of â€œcelebrityâ€ comments where former guests took turns fawning over King. If each â€œtoastâ€ was real, the audience would have been too drunk to change the station. Maybe thatâ€™s how CNN plans to improve its ratings.
â€œGOP Abandons Bushâ€â€”MSNBC. Not even a question mark? Is MSNBC really saying the GOP has abandoned the President just after they upheld his veto of the Iraq spending bill? Sure, theyâ€™re making waves about re-evaluating the war in September and Bushâ€™s support is eroding in his own party, but MSNBC is overstating the case a bit. They might be able to use this headline in a few months, but this seems more like wishful-thinking than accurate reporting by MSNBC.
â€œPrison Princessâ€â€”Fox News. Cable channels love two things above all: gossip and alliteration. With Paris Hiltonâ€™s impending jail sentence, they can indulge in both. Of course, she isnâ€™t going to prison (sheâ€™s been sentenced to 45 days in county jail) and she isnâ€™t a princess, so the entire headline is false. But why should that stand in the way of a catchy title?Â
â€œWild Fires Close Two Interstatesâ€ & â€œâ€™Family Dayâ€™ Protests in Romeâ€â€”Headline News. You have to love Headline News. For a channel with â€œheadlineâ€ in the name, they spend maybe 10 seconds thinking of their actual headlines. Theyâ€™re not trying to be cool or flashy. They just describe the news topic and report away. A long, long time ago, thatâ€™s what headlines were supposed to be. You stay classy, Headline News.
â€œKatie Interviews the Kingâ€â€”CNN. To paraphrase John McEnroe, CNN cannot be serious. At the end of this week, they were still fawning over Larry King. In this segment, Katie Couric conducts an interview. Perhaps Couricâ€™s ratings on CBSâ€™ evening news broadcast have gotten so low that cable ratings might be an improvement. In any case, itâ€™s a wonder that any news stories aired during this incredibly important milestone.