Wednesday, July 24, 2002

My ongoing series on why I'm sometimes embarassed by my profession (then again, nah, TV is a different breed): cheesy TV news headlines. In tomorrow's Tribune, an ad for WGN News at 9: "Help on picking the right style of yoga--and tips to avoid getting hurt." Stop the presses. Then there is the recent series in Baltimore on "How to Escape a Submerged Car," whose melodrama exceeded its substance (seared here by critic David Folkenflik). Reminds me of Sam Donaldson, his ABC talk show run nearing an end, reflecting on the banality of his newsmag "Primetime Live" in this week's TV Guide: "If you like murder or rape or multiple-birth or diet-pill-of-the-week stories and want to watch them, fine. But if we say it's ABC News, we should be a little bit better than that." Alas, he may as well be a dinosaur for such a common sense observation. Commercial news is an oxymoron. Or, as the Washington Monthly put it, the fluff problem is a case (pun intended) of "Substance Abuse."

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