WATCHING NEWS CHANNELS

I am appreciative of the conversations we get to have each day and generally satisfied with the dialogue we share. I don’t normally watch the news channels, even FoxNews Channel, because when my day is done, I turn to TV to relax. I have handled the morning conversation on the show and I want to be entertained. Tuesday night that changed as I was watching FNC as the polling places closed in Alabama.

It was a contentious election with salacious allegations about Roy Moore’s past that included attempts at defrauding voters with a manipulated yearbook and lies about it. The voters were clearly divided and results were very slow coming in. It made me thankful for our voting system in Florida and here in Brevard in particular. We know within minutes of the polls closing what the early and mail ballot totals are and it’s not very long before election day tallies are evident. How lucky are we?

So, as the regularly scheduled shows on FNC kept promising results in minutes (in some cases an hour before the polls actually closed) the usual fare was there. Hosts and guests were talking the news of the day beyond the election. Or were they?

Tucker Carlson came on after Martha MacCallum and both are excellent hosts. MacCallum juggled multiple guests and managed the conversation well around the promises of election results coming soon. Carlson’s guests were one on one. And while he was great about challenging the guests to stay on topic and answer the questions presented, in each interview it quickly devolved into something other than a discussion. At times you could not understand either Carlson or his guest as they tried to out talk each other. It was a jumble of noise that resulted in nobody being understood rather than a conversation where opposing viewpoints were aired. Oh, the topics and questions were good, and confrontation isn’t bad, as long as the guest has the chance to answer on the issues.

I believe hosts have role to play in the “news-talk” world. Yes, we have our opinions and we have ample opportunity to present them. We have guests to bring perspective we don’t have, and even debate, to our audiences. But if we are talking over each other neither of our points are being heard nor understood. I also believe there is an element as a host of being gracious and polite to those who agree to appear in our talk media home. That doesn’t mean we don’t disagree, but we must at least allow the guest to be heard without a constant barrage of shouting over them because we disagree.

Tucker Carlson is apparently a great guy. I would like to see him become a great host. He has the foundation, he has the platform and he has the ability to win the debate. But when shouting down your guest becomes the rule of the day, as it appeared to be with every guest that did not agree with him, there is a problem. I got nothing out of two of his guests and I came away with yet another reason to shy away from what could have been an informative and interesting show and validation for my TV viewing habits. If we want to entertain and inform, we have to allow the information to flow in a manner that is understandable.

So, tonight when I get home it’s back to sports, sci-fi or drama…shouting contests just aren’t entertaining, or informative for that matter!

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