comments 5

Have you noticed…

American comedian Conan O'Brien at "Stand...

Image via Wikipedia

…that the line between news and entertainment and now even celebrity gossip has disappeared?

There was a time when news was news. Then newscasts started adding entertainment features, separated from the news proper but still within the confines of a newscast. Now it seems all bets are off. For instance, I heard in a single radio newscast:

Burmese election results trickle in…
Missing woman found dead…
Shooting in Mississauga…
Canada considering training role in Afghanistan…
Conan O’Brien returns to television…

Which one doesn’t belong? I think today’s example is mild. I’ve heard “news stories” about celebrity infidelities, celebrity drug addictions and so on. Our media outlets push us to care increasingly about celebrities and what they do. Phooey, I say.

Now I’ve also started to hear the line between news and opinion disappear. Of course newspapers, television and radio stations have points of view and that colours the way they present the news of the day. A local radio station, Newstalk 1010 has a guy reading the news now who presents his opinion as part of his newscast. He’ll read a headline, tell us what he thinks about it, then continue with the story, as if his opinion of it has the same value to the listener as the story, or perhaps as if his opinion of the story is more important than the story itself. It isn’t.

PS Does anyone care about tv talk shows anymore?
PPS The fact that I mention Conan O’Brien’s name here will likely up my hit count. If I really wanted to work that, I’d also work in other celeb names like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift and on and on.  I used to get loads of his whenever I mentioned Amy Winehouse, but I think folks are mostly bored with her now. She used to be in the news almost every day.


  1. Celebrities are our contemporary version of Roman and Greek gods. People temper and monitor and compare their own core moral beliefs with the activities of the “stars”, People test the boundaries and taboos of our own communitees by reading and talking about celebrities ups and downs. We confirm our own sense of rules and what we expect from ourselves and each other while we gossip about celebrities.

    • I hadn’t considered it quite that way. I learn something every day around this joint. I’ve found the antics of celebrities to be less and less amusing to me over the years.

  2. It’s so true what you say. The lines among news, entertainment and opinion are getting dangerously blurred, especially when they are geared toward an audience that has no opinion of their own.

    And I don’t really know if anybody cares about tv talk shows anymore because I never did care about them. You don’t need to lure me here with Conan.

    • There were several years when I hardly watched television. I’m not sure of the years but I think it pretty much covered the entire run of Seinfeld, which I didn’t see until it was in repeats.

      I don’t watch any of those talk show guys. Years and years ago, I used to watch Tom Snyder’s show Tomorrow. He was one strange cat. I did see 2 or 3 of Conan’s shows, but it was like I missed the joke.

  3. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    I dont watch Leno because I dont find his show in any way entertaining. I dislike O’Brien’s show even more. Interestingly I think in all the mess of switching hosts and time slots around it was Leno who got screwed over. Conan got a $30 million or so payout and will have to work hard to spend even the interest on that. Leno likely earns a bundle but came up short $30 mill in the deal. I am pretty much immune to the efforts of the media to influence me although I will admit to watching about an hour a month of television. Slightly less for radio. Both media are pretty much fluff wedged between commercials and bore me senseless. I blame it all on the cast of “Friends” who held out for huge payouts for each episode of that sitcom. I think the networks realized the time had come when they could no longer afford the big bucks for actors in real programs when they could instead flog reality shows for a tiny fraction of the cost. I have voted television off the island.

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