By an overwhelming majority, more than 5,000 Americans told the Pew Research Center that they are “worn out” by the amount of news coverage on display in the USA. The exact number of those having news “fatigue” is 68 percent.
I feel their pain because even though I have worked in the news business for 45 years, I too am enervated after news consumption. The way information is being presented these days is generally numbing and there are many reasons why
On television the same phrases are used over and over. The lazy interviewer who will not formulate a specific question often asks a guest “what do you make of that?”
Here’s what I make of that – you’re a moron if you can’t frame questions that do anymore than elicit tedious generalities. A five year old can ask “what do you make of that?” Good grief.
Then there’s the inevitable answer to the unfocused question: “at the end of the day, blah, blah, blah …”
I mean how many times must we be subjected to “at the end of the day?” Or “kick the can down the road?” Or “move the goalposts?” The cliches are exhausting. There should be fines.
Then there is “breaking news.” Everything is breaking. Breathless anchors tell you that “sources close to the White House” say Trump eats cheeseburgers at 2am. I love the “sources close to the White House” thing. That could be the guy selling pretzels on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Newspapers are worse. It’s always “a source familiar with the situation but who cannot be identified because he or she is not authorized to comment on anything for fear they might lose their job and their vacation home.”
Nevertheless, the anonymous source says that President Trump once yelled at a gardener at one of his golf courses in an undisclosed country. The source spoke to the Times on the condition that his quote be as boring as possible. He went on to say that the gardener may sue the President for defamation if he can find a sleazy lawyer to take the case on contingency. The source made it clear that he did not actually hear the gardener say the word “contingency” but another source told him that the man was mad and may have said it in Spanish.
The Times has confirmed that the Trump organization has hired some Hispanic gardeners in the past and it is certainly possible that one of them got yelled at by Mr. Trump. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed that on Trump golf courses there are many workers who might screw up once in a while and gardeners might be included in that group. The Times “stands by” its story although we have no idea if it’s true and don’t really care.
On CNN, the gardener story leads the eight pm broadcast with a panel of eight discussing the likelihood of a defamation verdict against President Trump. On the panel are six pundits who, at the end of the day, believe the alleged gardener scolding was racially motivated. Also appearing on the panel is a convicted felon who supports President Trump, and an actual gardener named Francisco who claims a customer once yelled at him for killing a shrub.
The panel discussion lasts for 15 minutes until acrimony breaks out over whether Trump could have hit the unnamed gardener rather than just verbally abused him.
CNN then takes a break but not before promoting it’s next panel on Russians possibly colluding with Roseanne to move her show to Syria.
So the Pew team got it right: most of the country has been worn down by insane news coverage and the folks are tired.
Or more accurately: sick and tired.