Stop Getting Your News from TV!

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I want to add a thought about Kevin’s chart of the day, which shows that more people now get their news from the internet than from newspapers, an unsurprisingly but still foreboding development.

The chart also shows that people still get most of their news from TV. Internet and newspapers lag far behind. This is at the root of so many of the complaints Americans have about the news media. The worst and most common sins of the media are committed by TV news: substituting confrontational debates for substantive discussions; treating serious subjects too briefly or not at all; spending too much time on Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and missing blond women in Aruba or wherever. I recognized that newspapers and especially blogs and internet outlets have serious problems. But if you want long-form journalism that takes a single subject and works it over for 10,000 words (something that will take 45 minutes to read and really teach you something in the process), you’ve got to turn to magazines and their websites. (Try here, here, or here to begin.) And if you want breaking news that brings horrible things like warrantless wiretapping or black sites into the open, you’ve got to turn to newspapers and their websites. So next time someone tells you they’re fed up with the media, take away his or her TV remote and hand him or her a copy of The New Yorker. I’d bet Wolf Blitzer, in his heart of hearts, would recommend the same thing.

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