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How'd cable get so trashy?

August 31, 2008

IN HER Critic's Notebook ["Gotcha, 24/7," Aug. 17], Mary McNamara spotlights cable news' clear need to find "sensation" to draw in viewers. This tactic has left me astonished at the content and dismayed at the low level [to which] the fourth estate has fallen. Here's an example I still can't wrap my mind around.

Recently, I was stopped short, unable to believe what I was viewing on what had been the crown of cable news.

Before me on my TV screen, CNN had its panel of rational commentators seated as usual behind a table; the topic of their "rational discourse" was behind them as backdrop: multiple pictures of Obama, each framed with the inscription in a kind of floral font saying, "Is Obama the Antichrist?" How this topic could be considered as legitimate discussion when we face almost insurmountable national and international problems -- well, I don't get it.

And, rather than drawing me to them, I find that I'm turning to other media for information. Those in cable news making program decisions might consider that the bottom line need not subvert professional integrity and public responsibility.

Dorothy G. Clark

Associate professor, English,

Cal State Northridge

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