Daring to Dream

I agree with Brent. Paris Hilton has got to go.

I feel as though this is déjà vu all over again — didn’t I rail against cable going crazy over the Anna Nicole Smith fiasco in a previous blog?

On Saturday, Pat Buchanan, Alex Witt and I did our usual Saturday morning bit on MSNBC and talked about immigration. But I couldn’t hold my tongue. They had just bumped Tucker Carlson the night before for “breaking news” on Paris Hilton, and all cable shows were competing for “the story.” My line was something to the effect that we had just been talking about 12 million people whose lives were hanging in the balance, yet nearly all the coverage was about one spoiled brat.

I have an idea. And maybe I am all wet, and don’t understand 24/7 TV, and ratings, and advertising, and competition in the modern media world. Maybe I am a naïve, inside-the-Beltway, crazy idealist.

But here is my idea. One network simply says, “We are not going to cover this wall to wall.” We are not going to show you the same pictures of Paris in the police car, or Anna Nicole’s swirling dress, or a poor high school student missing in Aruba. We will keep you updated on the facts, on relevant events, but we will let you turn to another network if you want to watch press conferences about nothing, and listen to jabbering speculation about a celebrity, that no one should really care about anyway. We are a news channel, we value bringing you critical news, in an interesting and lively and stimulating format. But we will no longer try and compete by putting on more when we should be putting on less.

I firmly believe that if a network were to engage the public and truly make a major announcement like that, they would gain viewers. Not that day, not the next day, not the first week, maybe — but ultimately, they would be taken more seriously, they would pick up viewers who would be more loyal, more sustainable. This would be a major bombshell and with each passing ridiculous event that others cover to the point of absurdity, this network would stand out and gain respect, and sell more advertising, and become more successful in the cable marketplace. And, most important, they would be doing the right thing and the executives at that network would look at themselves in the mirror and smile. And that infectious enthusiasm might just race through all the employees at the network. What a crazy thought — I guess I’m just dreaming.