Sunday, January 17, 2010

Betrayed by Television

When on the morning of January 14, 2010, NBC and Fox aired their regularly scheduled programs, one would have thought that whatever world these networks speak to or from was unaffected by the recent quake in Haiti. Where Kathie Lee & Hoda devoted five minutes to running aerial coverage of the damage, after which they moved on to discuss the unrelated "scoop," Fox and Friends moved right into their interview with Freddie Prince Jr, quizzing him affectionately on just how he manages his challenging role on the fox-run TV show "24."

A world of a different kind waited for those who chose to listen to NPR (National Public Radio) on the days following the Hatian earthquake. The program focused on the earthquake by oscillating between responses from the site and responses about those responses here at home.

Whatever I saw on NBC and Fox news on the morning on January 14th bothered me. I was betrayed by the television, or by its networks. As cell phone companies and XBox reinvented the way in which their technologies could be used, TV networks proved themselves defunct. And yet, it's so difficult to say that TV networks are defunct given the role FOX News, CNN, and even NBC played in the 2008 presidential election and its following months.

There is perhaps nothing more troublesome than the "statement of purpose" one particular network released and aired prior to and beyond the 2008 election. Implicit in the "Fox Nation" is the understanding that such a nation stands against other nations (and undoubtedly other networks viewable on the same machine) that threaten this "nation's" principles. The difficulty in accepting Fox Nation as a legitimate and "fair" nation comes only when one realizes that the "nation(s)" Fox stands against are domestic TV networks and a domestic political party.

Given a networks desire to create a nation out of and in itself, I'm fustrated that these network nations decided to push the crisis in Haiti aside in order to dish about Kathie-Lee's life and Freddie Prince Jr.'s acting career. So then: Is not defunction always a choice?

No comments: