Given the plethora of cable news programming that is available 24 hours 7 days a week, you would think it would be easy to find news that you consider relevant. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer stations are anything like WCVB Channel 5 News Boston, because we live in a society that is driven by the almighty dollar. We get what sells. Ultimately, you get less programming like WCVB Channel 5 news weather, and more over hyped and sensationalized news programs.
Although few look at cultural tastes in television programming this way, it really is no different than how cultures musical tastes are cultivated. For instance, the scales, modes, and chord progressions of Saudi Arabian music sound “normal” and “correct” to Saudi Arabians, yet it sounds “different,” “odd,” and even “unsettling to many westerners. Likewise, our music is not their preference because it is not as common to them. Basically, we choose to listen to music that contains the harmonic elements that are most familiar to us. Likewise, our tastes in television, film, and news programming are nurtured in much the same way.
The point is that the American media inundates the masses with so much sordid, gruesome, and sensational news that many have been desensitized to the most awful, tragic, and disgusting crimes of which millions cannot get enough and even grow to crave. After all, if you never taste a chocolate chip cookie you will never know that you like it, right?
It has come to the point that unless an awful crime is committed right in front of us, our television screens provide a first row view of the most reprehensible acts, yet it also attributes to the who act of viewing an obsessive, voyeuristic perspective that is akin to the cinema. The safe distance that cable news provides its audience makes a very real, tragic event play out like a movie. We can turn it on and turn it off, and even see reruns and overviews if we miss anything.
Sensationalized cable news has very little in common with local stations like WCVB Channel 5 and 5 News Weather, and is more like being fed junk food so often that we want nothing else; and if we grow tired of one flavor, there are always plenty more. Still, our appetite for violence never completely dissipates, especially if we take a break and opt for an occasional entree of political scandal.