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"DO NOTHING PROGRAMMING

June 12, 2007
‘Do-Nothing’ Programming (Bob Franken)
@ 10:17 am

I have such a GREAT idea for C-SPAN. Picture watching this: The Senate grinds on up to the point that someone announces debate is about to begin on the immigration legislation. Then the screen goes blank. Well, in this case, maybe it simply shows a 700-mile-long fence. But the point is that no one would have missed anything.

Think of the possibilities: On the cable news networks, aerial shots of Paris Hilton’s motorcade could suddenly end. Fade to black.

Of course that will never happen. There would be an uproar. Besides, ratings would plummet. I mean, people really care about Paris Hilton. And as we found out, they really care about the “Sopranos”‘ ending, too, or the lack thereof.


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Obviously, people have feelings about immigration too. Otherwise so many politicians, and commentators, wouldn’t spend so much time pandering. But we sure don’t get as worked up over that as we do the fate of a mythical mobster, or a mythical … what is she, anyway?

There are reasons for that: First of all, Tony’s life or death, and Paris Hilton’s latest publicity stunts, are pretty simple. The issues of the day are complicated, which means there are no easy solutions about which we can form opinions. For those of us who have learned that ever louder, ever shorter sound bites are what pass for national debate, it’s too much hard work for us to get involved in a substantial way.

Not when we need to concentrate on IMPORTANT matters, like Tony and Paris.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, this screen is about to go blank … if it wasn’t already.

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