Do You Listen to NPR?

Aren’t you tired of most of the crap that they put on the radio and television? I am.

I was visiting with a friend of mine recently and we were talking about the choices in radio and television news/talk programming. First, I should tell you that she is a hardcore right-winger. In fact, we were together because she was in Washington for a conservative media conference.

npr-logoWe were in a crowded hotel bar that was full of conservative bloggers and others who were there for the conference too. She leaned over to me and lowered her voice, hoping nobody would overhear her ask me, “Do you listen to NPR?”

Of course I listen to NPR, I told her. It’s interesting. She said that she listens because she learns stuff from it. “I rarely learn anything new from FOX,” she said. I agreed.  

It’s not just FOX. It’s nearly everyone – especially on television. The bottom-line is that most radio and cable news/talk has become just too predictable. It’s all us versus them, my talking points versus your talking points, and the hosts ask guests predictable questions about predictable news topics.

Just skim the headlines in the morning and you can almost predict the entire day’s programming. It’s not just the subject matter, it’s the content too. It seems like nearly every segment is the same thing, with dumbed down sound bytes and quick questions and answers.

Please tell me something I don’t know. Spend time and discuss a topic for more than just one short segment between commercials. Talk about an issue or story that we all don’t already know about. Have a thoughtful give and take discussion, instead of just spouting the prepared talking points that everyone gave to the producer ahead of time. (Yes, that really happens. You have to tell the producers what you are going to say before the interview.)

I’m sick of seeing the same of people say the same old things in the same old way. What if there was a cable news/talk television channel that just had smart people talking about interesting stuff? Would people watch? I honestly don’t know the answer to that, but I’d love to find out.

Until then, I am still going to listen to NPR for interesting discussions and information. AND I’m sure I’ll still watch some cable television for news and political discussions, but I’m sure I’ll continue to be disappointed.


***Before I get tons of comments and hate mail, I should say that I do like some of the current programming out there. My favorite shows on each of the major cable channels are Morning Joe on MSNBC, The Five on FOX, Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown on CNN. I love The John Batchelor Show on radio. And of course, NPR.