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Published on December 3rd, 2009 | by thevyne


The TMZ Effect: No Judgement

By Keesha Boyd

I suppose we should have expected it. In the age of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, iPhones and blogging, we should have expected that not even the news could resist the allure of 24 hour content. It makes sense that traditional news programming would want to be a part of, if not lead, the charge to provide compelling content faster and meet the “on demand” terms of the American public. That said, the other day I was tuned into CNN and two thoughts occurred to me while I was watching the weekend news segments: 1) “Didn’t they already talk about this?” and 2) “Is this CNN or TMZ?”

Perhaps I had not paid close attention in the past or maybe I only watched 15 minute blocks of news at a time. But somewhere around the 15 minute mark it became starkly apparent that the “so called” 24 hour news was looping. I watched as Suzanne Malveaux  kept reaching to make heads or tails out of the breaking Tiger Woods story by continuing to report the same scant details that were reported five minutes earlier. No disrespect to Suzanne but it made me think, is there really such a thing as 24 hour news if it’s simply the same story looped and spun a variety of different ways?

Which brings me to my second thought, “Is this CNN or TMZ?” Last I checked, reputable news networks like CNN and MSNBC would not dare stoop to run tabloid-esque stories. But as sure as I was sitting there, eating left over Thanksgiving dinner, Suzanne was reporting on Tiger Woods’ alleged affair like it was Watergate. While I can appreciate the entertainment value, it begs the question, what really constitutes “news” these days? When TMZ content is passing as hard hitting journalism and networks fill their schedule with show after show of the same “news” stories, it gives the illusion that there is such a thing as 24 hour news. But at the end of the day the reality may very well be that in the age of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, iPhones and blogging, perhaps our concept of news has been reduced to trending topics and bite sized pieces of compelling gossip just short enough to be looped, tweeted or fit into a status update.  No judgement, just something to think about the next time you tune in to the “news”…

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One Response to The TMZ Effect: No Judgement

  1. Gigi Hayes says:

    What I find interesting, and a bit disturbing actually, are that the 24-hour news channels are actually starting to use TMZ and Perez Hilton as confirming sources for entertainment stories. We saw it when MJ pasted away this summer and when Maya Angelou “died” in the fall; and their recored for retraction/correction time for misreported stories is horrible.

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