I have a brief request to make. Would everyone please stop referring to the programming on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC as "Cable News"? From now on, these programs should be referred to as "Cable Schmooze" and the guests on these shows should be thought of as Paid Schmoozers.
Whenever I turn the channel away from a drama or a ballgame to watch the above-referenced channels, I'm invariably treated to schmoozing on the part of Washington insiders and the hosts (aka "journalists") who talk to them. Sometimes they're all sitting around a table. Other times the people-in-the-know will be waxing eloquent from their book-laden study, the street in front of the White House, or in front of a bust inside the U.S. Capitol Building. Truth be told, if you and your friends read the newspapers or even news-oriented websites, you can have just as informative and insightful a discussion with your friends than what you'd hear on Cable TV. In that sense, it's very different from, say, watching a ball game. You can do that with your friends as well, but only at a MUCH lower level. On Cable Schmooze, by contrast, we are frequently treated to talking heads who make far less sense than the typical informed person on the street. Apparently, the powers-that-be decide that it drives ratings to hear provocative/absurd drivel. Maybe it makes us in the audience feel smart. Or maybe such drivel is crucial to building admiration for those few talking heads who consistently speak logically and at least try to be objective.
Mind you, I'm not requesting that you stop watching these programs. My request is only that you stop thinking of them as Cable News and call them what they are. As for the hosts, you can think of them as journalists if you wish, but please don't confuse their programs with journalism. Those shows are pure entertainment, and their hosts have far more in common with the more successful members of the Screen Actors Guild than they have with Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow. Who knew that Schmooze would ever be so lucrative?