I’ve always liked Charlie Gibson. He’s like an elderly neighbor, polite, kind, and gentlemanly. He is of course the veteran television journalist, who anchors ABC “World News Tonight.”
Unfortunately, ABC World News Tonight has become “No News Tonight.” Let us take a typical 22 minutes last Monday, which covered the following:
Charlie Gibson led with – not unexpectedly – the AIG bonus outrage, which of course received coverage ad nausea. This included a few follow-up questions to George Stephanopoulos of ABC’s This Week. The second report was on the health advantages of aspirin. This was followed by another bit of fluff on “Where we stand in Iraq,” a nightly report which had been dragged out for a whole week and basically was a series of interviews with Iraqi police, American servicemen, and the usual street vendors of Baghdad. The news wound up with a piece on food allergies, which of course followed all the drug companies’ ads that are a permanent part of the network news programs, with those pleas of “Ask your Doctor.”
This is ABC’s offering of world news to the American public. No wonder there is a continuing decline in viewer numbers for this and other network news programs.
So, I have turned to BBC America as my source of world news. BBC also covered the AIG “scandal” but also gave me news on the Zimbabwe political and economic problems, the Sri Lanka Civil War with the Tamils, and an update on the European Union and the global financial crisis.
None of this can be called joyful news, but whether we like it or not, it is world news. The BBC still has bureaus and reporters around the world unlike any of the U.S. major networks. When the BBC interviews someone on one of their news items, the questions are probing, aggressive, and demand a response, unlike interviews on our major news networks. Although I appreciate the BBC coverage, I am upset from time to time by the obvious bias in their reporting. However, I do believe that I am informed about our world as a result of watching the BBC.
Although ABC claims that, “More Americans get their news from ABC News than from any other source,” it is a sad state of affairs that, in the continuous dumbing down of America, most of our population now have no sources of information as to what is going on in our world.
So, for me, it is now Goodbye Charlie Gibson. I am just one more minor statistic in the declining viewership of network news. So as they continue to have censorship by ratings and service their drug-company ads by catering to the lowest possible denominator, Americans will continue to slide into ignorance of the world around us.
Ellis M. Goodman, author of Bear Any Burden: www.bearanyburden.com