Sunday, July 02, 2006

NEWS AS ENTERTAINMENT

The Space Shuttle launch didn't happen today. Bad weather, will try again Tuesday afternoon. Darnet.

I ended up wasting my time watching Miles O'Brien on CNN Pipeline, talking about the weather. What a joke.

Anyway, on to the subject matter of my post. I find there's quite a few news stories out there that are simply fun to watch as entertainment. Stuff where you simply kick back, grab some popcorn and sit and watch the news on TV. (In my case I usually tune in to the live streaming video on my computer screen from the news channels, which is basically the same thing.)

Usually these sorts of things can also be considered "big news", but not always. For instance, you can't describe terrorist attacks as being all that entertaining, and I can't get worked up about run-of-the-mill crime coverage or even riot coverage. Plane crashes are another one- I just find that kind of stuff too depressing. It really isn't all that entertaining to watch news that's too downbeat. But some news stories I just sit back and watch as entertainment. For example:

(1) Live coverage of the space program. Lately, the live space shuttle launches have been fun to tune into, same with the landings. Of course, it's no fun when things go wrong, but that's another story. One pines for the old days, though, of Walter Cronkite and the moon landings and all that. Those were the glory days of NASA coverage.
(2) Hurricane coverage. As you know it's hurricane season once again and you know what that means, folks, we're in for plenty of coverage from TV stations along the Gulf Coast; plus you have the networks covering these things with guys like Anderson Cooper getting blown around. It's no fun following the post-hurricane coverage, though, just too depressing. Though it is a lot of fun to see reporters yell at public officials on the air. That is why we watch the news, folks.
(3) War coverage. When war breaks out in the Middle East and the bombs start falling, I've found that to be a good time to stay in and watch the news on TV. I will admit though, it also gets very depressing to watch after a few days of moaning by the usual reporters about how badly the war is going, and you get fed up watching all these miserable reporters, trashing the war efforts. So I always end up tuning out eventually. But it can be pretty interesting during the early portion of the war and also when the troops are entering the capital and all heck is breaking loose.
(4) Political conventions are always entertaining to watch on TV and the news networks always put in a big effort to cover these things and interview big guests. They bring out the A-list pundits for all these things. Doesn't matter which country, the US or Canada, the coverage is always great. And speaking of Canada,we're in for major Liberal convention coverage in December. Fun times for political fans.
(5) Of course, election nights are always great, especially when you stay up all night waiting for the results to come in like they do in the USA and in the UK. The last two presidential elections, you needed to stay up all night in order to find out the results. Fun stuff. (By the way, this is an election year in the USA and also a municipal election year in parts of Canada.)
(6) Inaugurations and State of the Union speeches before Congress. You have got to know that these speeches are going to be top-notch and that the President will utter something memorable about the Axis of Evil or something like that.
(7) Presidential press conferences; fun stuff, especially when there's major groveling being done.
(8) Major trials. I love watching these big trials from Court TV and these networks, and watching Nancy and Greta and the rest of them rant and rave about them. The celebrity trials like OJ and Jacko are probably my favorite, because you know that the media goes nuts all the time over them--- but I've also enjoyed watching the live craziness on display over in Iraq at the Saddam Hussein trial.
(9) Car chases. There's nothing better than a good LA car chase for news. You just never know what is going to happen. I used to see this stuff all the time on KTLA, all these car chases. Apparently these got outlawed by the LAPD, but eventually there was a clamor by these TV people to bring the car chases back, so they brought 'em back. I don't know if we're going to have too many car chases on TV in the future, but they're great newsertainment. Who can ever forget OJ in the white Ford Bronco, chased by the cops? Great television.
(10) Executions. I find these cases compelling, though it's admittedly kind of ghoulish to be interested in whether or not some lowlife on Death Row lives or dies. Anyway, it's great fun, all the death penalty special interest groups come out to watch. And there's always the spectre of some last-minute stay of execution so there's always a lot of activity.
(11) Emergency landings. You know those stories where some plane loses its landing gear and has to make an emergency landing, so they show it live? Those are pretty neat.
(12) This is probably my personal favorite: live coverage of revolutions. You cannot beat that.

That's about it. Oh by the way, it's election night in Mexico. I'm sure there's some stream out there on the Web, with live election coverage from down there. Anyway, that's about it.

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