There are two things I don’t like about traveling for work: one is being away from home, and the other is CNN. I loathe CNN like a 15-year-old boy loves Led Zeppelin. One of the many reasons I hate CNN is that as a traveler in North America, I’m assaulted by it at nearly every turn. It’s broadcast throughout the airport. Every airport. And it’s often the only all-news network available in a hotel. The problem I have with this is that at some point between fifteen years ago and now, CNN stopped broadcasting the news. Now it’s as if all they do is broadcast mostly drivel with a little bit of news, but they use expert writing and dramatic graphics and music to make us think the drivel is news.
My brain stops working when I watch CNN in the same way it stops working when I watch Gossip Girl. But I watch Gossip Girl (not recently, though) because I want to turn my brain off. With CNN, which I turn on because there are, say, a half-dozen current world events I want to learn more about, all I get is a stream of teasers for a multitude of segments all on the same over-reported topic, and all to come several hours hence, peppered with a repeating loop of “top” stories that are neither breaking news nor in any way more important than the events I’d wanted so intently to learn more about. So then my brain rapidly comes to attention and I’m flooded with thoughts about how this is appalling and must certainly reflect very poorly on the future of our informed citizenry, and then all I’m left with are my own opinions and no news.
CNN means I start every trip grumpy.