By The Big Guy
I am not Catholic. However, I am related to a number of people who are. That coupled with the fact that I am a news junkie found me glued to the TV Wednesday afternoon and specifically to the smokestack in the corner of the screen on CNN. Then in an instant white smoke, a marching band, guards with iron hats and spears and “Habemus Papam!” Frank One has arrived.
It’s been a while since I watched CNN but it still seems to be the go to place for reasonably unbiased news coverage of live events that the mainstream networks choose not to cover. It also still seems to be the home of the most cluttered news screen around. There’s a news ticker at the bottom of the picture and a stock ticker just below that most hours of the day. Then there’s some sort of headline and continuously changing sub heads regarding the current topic of discussion. Clearly you could spend all your time just reading the screen and then you’d miss all the real life pictures, like the white smoke coming out of the smokestack Chapel side.
CNN, bless their innovative heart, brought us The Situation Room, still apparently tended to by Wolf Blitzer, best known for the most practiced monotone on television. I remember when they first started TSR they took six flat screen TVs, nailed them to a wall in two rows of three and then trimmed the whole thing off with a piece of blue duct tape. They wanted to show us what a nerve center of activity the “Room” was. For the first time it forced a whole bunch of on-camera reporters to stand still and look serious while Wolf talked to someone on another screen. Recently they’ve gotten a bit more sophisticated and replaced the duct tape with what appears to be a border made of blue LED lights in a plastic tube like the ones people use to mark the outline of the landing pad in their backyard for the drones they’re using to buzz the local airport and by airport I mean mosque. I digress.
CNN was also the first to give us the young, trendy internet expert browsing the web for instant comments from young, trendy home-bound out of work individuals and displaying them on a giant touch screen just like you’d see in all those futuristic sci-fi movies or the recently deceased CSI: Miami. What’s unfortunate about this (No, not CSI: Miami – good riddance) is that this using of touch screens and other devices is spreading to local newscasts as they try to prove just how young and trendy their newsroom is. You have highly paid news reading personalities trying desperately to read their stories on a TelePrompTer (look it up) in front of them while just as desperately trying to look cool poking at pretend forward, reverse and pause controls on the giant screen behind them.
And last night (this is absolutely true) a TV news reporter on location in front of a large Catholic church in town reels off a number of statistics about local Catholics in the midst of her report, and as she does she whips an iPad out of her purse with the statistics typed out on it for her cameraman to zoom in on. Half the time she was holding it up all we could see was the reflection of the giant camera light in the iPad screen. These tasks could easily be handled by technicians in the control room as they always have, but then I guess our on-camera personnel wouldn’t look nearly as 21st century news day hip, would they?
Before they go and hurt themselves and looking so incredibly stupid in the process, maybe they could just print out the newscast and have someone deliver it to our homes. We could call it a newspaper. Works for me.