Local news. It's a funny thing. In small U.S. television markets, you may get something like:
"Tonight at eleven...
Bear goes on dumpster rampage...
Costs of road gravel rise...
And I'm bakin' muffins!"
But even on the major metro stations, there seems to be a focus on the local. Of course, Iraqi suicide bombers get some mention...on a par with the latest weight of the thinner Olson twin...but then it's quickly back to fires and murders, the stuff that sells.
Don't get me wrong, I love fires and murders, to a point. But every once in awhile I check out the BBC news, if only to remind myself that there is a world out there. For instance, did you know that recent flooding in Ethiopia has killed over 130 people? Me neither. Because it wasn't on my local or network news. And to be fair, the floods didn't kill all those people. The crocodiles had their share. No, I'm not kidding. Crocodiles. If we are to believe George Carlin, that news is in fact simply another form of entertainment, we certainly must concede that a few dozen people devoured by crocs trumps a bear rummaging thru a box of Honey Bunches of Oats.
So why, from a sheer ratings standpoint, isn't this making it to local news? Perhaps it's simply that "local" means local. And that we'd rather see the house down the block burn to the ground than try to understand the subtle nuances of international politics. OK, I can see that. And there just isn't time to cover the crocodile thing AND bake muffins.
But our network-affiliated news programs really aren't much better. Really, we could take the "medical segment" which usually features a plastic surgery procedure gone wrong, or some new treatment for thining hair, and throw it in the dumpster. After all, that's not really news, and it's not quite entertainment either. It's vanity. And we really have enough of that. Or give us a little less Paris Hilton all around.
Then perhaps we'd have a cozy eight minutes to devote to floods, crocodiles, and coups.
Slang of the day: melted out: broke, usually as a result of gambling.