Marry Me

Alex Dering:

No more “if it bleeds it leads” idiocy. Any reporter, director, editor, intern, anchor, etc. who mentions the phrase or advocates its position is to be fired at once and permanently barred from the profession.

No more news that consists merely of everyday events. Car accidents and fatalities. They happen. I know this because I do this thing called paying car insurance. Telling me about a car crash in West Nowhere is null content. Telling me that Interstate Zero has been shut down because of a collision involving a truck hauling chocolate and a truck hauling peanut butter at least has the usefulness of telling me not to drive on that road. That should require no more than 30 seconds of air time. If that.

Enough with 8-minute weather segments. I don’t need the carefully groomed Sam Champion telling me about a hurricane in exquisite detail. I also don’t need to know about what’s going on with “rain events” in Washington state if I live in New Jersey.

NO MORE CELEBRITIES. EVER. If Tom Cruise goes on a killing spree in a shopping mall with a machete, fine, you can report on that. But I don’t care about what a bunch of entertainers are doing with their personal lives.

The only reports about psychics, miracles, etc. are those reports that debunk them. If you’ve got a “genuine” psychic, run the film clip of the “psychic” passing the James Randi million-dollar challenge.

Use shock collars if you have to, but force the anchors to stop acting like they understand what they’re talking about. Step up the voltage whenever they appear — appear — sympathetic. Step up the amperage whenever they trivialize science.

When I lived in Madison, Wis. I attributed the awfulness of the television news up there to the fact that it was a relatively small market and that the town, lovable though it is, is somewhat self-obssessed. People can go on about “whither Madison” for days, I thought, and this would never happen in a bigger city.

Then I moved to Chicago.

The production values are better (slightly). But every day in winter the news is still announced by a poor reporter holding a clipboard and standing on an overpass in the snow, pointing out that it’s snowing and traffic sucks. Eight-minute weather segments? Try 10. The weather asses around here make more money than the executive producers, and the celebrity segments, oh, my God. Our “Chicago Close Up” and jokey little reviewers fawn all over movie stars, major or minor, like this is East Bumblefuck, not the third largest city in America. We should be able to handle a little glitz without wetting ourselves. Also, John Cusack, like, lives here. There’s no reason to break into the daytime soaps every time he goes to a Cubs game.

And if one more anchor says “Chicagoland area” I’m gonna pull my own hair out. THERE’S NO SUCH PLACE.

A.