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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » No Time To Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle

No Time To Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle

1 rating: 3.0
2008 non-fiction book by Howard Rosenberg and Charles S. Feldman

Synopsis No Time to Think shows today's pedal-to-the-metal media scramble the molecules and realign the cosmos in ways that potentially shape how we think, act and react as a global society. It also explains why the demands of this revved-up news process … see full wiki

Tags: Books, News, Media, Nonfiction, Politics, Broadcast Journalism
Author: Howard R. Moskowitz
Publisher: Continuum
Date Published: October 5, 2008
1 review about No Time To Think: The Menace of Media Speed...

Why this ex-news junkie can no longer bear to watch most cable news.

  • Feb 20, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
NEWSTRITIONAL FACTS
Serving Size.................................................... 8 hours
News................................................................ 26 minutes        (6%)
News Analysis................................................18 minutes        (4%)
Opinion............................................................128 minutes       (30%)
Rumor and Innuendo..................................... 28 minutes       (7%)
Speculation.......................................................84 minutes      (20%)
Idle Chatter.......................................................16 minutes       (4%)
Self-Flattery......................................................20 minutes      (5%)
Complete Bullshit.........................................100 minutes      (24%)

This interesting graphic from the final chapter of "No Time To Think:  The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-Hour News Cycle" illustrates what the "newstritional" label might look like if  the 24 hour cable news networks were required to honestly list the content of their programming.  It looks pretty accurate to me.  According to co-authors Howard Rosenberg (TV critic for the Los Angeles Times) and Charles S. Feldman (a former CNN reporter) the  quality of the product being offered by cable news outlets has steadily deteriorated over the past decade or more.   Clearly the lines between fact and opinion, news and commentary have been blurred.  Opinionated hosts,  panels of "talking heads",  reporters talking to other reporters and network generated polling has replaced the  thoughtful and diligent pursuit of newsworthy stories.  Yet, this mindless drivel is passed off as "news"  Clearly it is not.  However, the moguls at these networks have evidently determined that in this is the stuff that audiences really want to see. Sadly, they appear to be correct.  The "dumbing down" of America continues. 

But the problems discussed in "No Time To Think" are not indigenous to cable news alone.   It is certainly no secret that many major newspapers in this country are in imminent danger of folding.  These newsrooms are just a shell of their former selves.  Staffs have been slashed across the board and journalistic standards substantially lowered.  Rosenberg and Feldman cite a number of cases of inaccurate reporting by newspapers.  It is all very discouraging.   And of course no discussion about the inadequacies of the 24 hour news cycle would be complete without taking a long, hard look at what is going down on the internet.  Here in this totally unregulated environment misinformation is disseminated at blinding speed.  While there are certainly many responsible websites and bloggers out there they appear to be vastly outnumbered by those who are not.   On many of these sites rumor and innuendo rule the day.  No time is taken to verify information and as a result  the reputations of businesses, institutions and individuals can be ruined in just  a matter of minutes.  Very scary!    Likewise, in my view, the total lack of reliable reporting about candidates and the major issues was very apparent in the 2008 election cycle and represent a direct threat to the future of our democracy. 

"No Time To Think: The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle" is a sobering look at what journalism has become in America.  It is not a pretty picture.   Personally, I opted out of the cable news shows quite a while ago.  I really don't give a damn what Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann think about anything.  Likewise I have absolutely no interest in celebrity news and much of the other fluff being offered up by these networks.   I have come to the conclusion that my time is far better spent reading books.   When cable news and the major networks return to the idea of "getting it right" rather than "getting it first" maybe I will give them another look.  Unfortunately, Howard Rosenberg and Charles Feldman see very little evidence that this will happen any time soon.   While I found the writing in "No Time To Think" to be a bit disjointed at times I would nevertheless heartily recommend this book to anyone who has not taken the time to carefully consider these extremely important issues.  

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March 07, 2009
I'd also like to point out that recent events that took place overseas (and thus, in the middle of the night for us Americans) did not get covered until the following day. What's the point of a 24-hour newscycle if it STILL takes 8 hours to post something that happened in India? Sounds like an informative read. Thanks!
 
March 04, 2009
Very true stuff. The nightly news is a lot of fear-mongering editorials ("are escalators dangerous??? tune in tonight at 7pm for more) followed by something cute ("and now...baby panda footage!") so people can sleep at night without stressing about the world.
 
February 20, 2009
More people receive their news from Comedy Central these days than CNN so that probably attest to a lot of the things going on in the mainstream media as well. Also, I find that most people even pre John Stewart were receiving only soundbytes for information and voting. I think thats why most cable news channels have so much bs.
 
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