Has The American News Media Taken Crazy Pills?

Not that I expect much in-depth reporting or thoughtful analysis from the news these days, but holy Hades, this must be a terrifically slow week in the old news biz.

First, the hugely overblown “controversy” over whether or not Beyonce lip-synced the national anthem at the inauguration. You’d think she admitted she was a member of al-Qaeda or something. This morning’s “news” shows had multiple segments about this, with breathless questions about how this might affect her career.

Um, people? This happens all the time. Not a big deal. Whitney Houston’s hugely popular anthem at the Super Bowl in Tampa in 1991? Lip-synced. Practically every halftime show ever? Lip-synced. You realize she would have been lip-syncing to her own performance of the anthem, right? She blew it out of the water, whether she sang it live at the Capitol or sang it previously in a studio. Comparing this to Milli Vanilli (who synced to tracks of other people who could actually sing) is ludicrous.

Then, just when I was going to shake my head and move on with my day, the morning newsies breathlessly moved on to report about Mercedes-Benz planning to run a sexy ad with Kate Upton during the Super Bowl. OMG, they’re using sex to sell cars?!?! What next? Dogs and cats living together? Mass hysteria? Has everyone lost their minds in the past 24 hours?

Yep, I realize my main problem is having morning TV “news” shows on at all, but I am sometimes too lazy to turn it off once my wife has the TV on. “Midwestern man too lazy to look for TV remote! What does this controversial move mean for the future of America?” - lead story on next week’s news.

I wasn’t aware of either of those controversies since I watch hardly any TV news nowadays. Geez, I almost feel like I missed something.

There’s an old saying about print news: “funny how there’s always just enough news to fill the newspaper”.

Anytime I hear the phrase “the ______ everyone’s talking about”, it’s a guarantee that I’ve never heard anyone talk about it and I wouldn’t have cared about it anyway.

If you use your “news” people to actually cover the inauguration you are probably somewhat obligated to report all aspects of it.

I don’t understand the confusion.

If you can’t trust your eyes to determine whether Beyonce is singing a song then it’s a straight-line path to Obama being a Kenyan Muslim who is going to take all your guns and give them to the UN.

Sure, he says otherwise but you can’t believe his words if Beyonce and Lance Armstrong are lying to cover up that he’s the father of her alien baby. Therefore the exact opposite must be true. It’s an inevitable conclusion from the premise, “all lies are equal.”

Go ahead. Ask me a question, any question at all. If I answer it “no” then you can tell yourself that the real, secret answer is “yes”. It’s infallible!

On one hand, I agree with the OP.

OTOH, it’s one thing to lip-synch in front of a paid audience, and quite another to do so in front of the President of the United States, who went to the trouble to personally ask for your performance.

Chris Matthews pointed at that Yo Yo Ma cello-synced his performance at the last Inauguration. Nobody is claiming that he can’t play the cello, only that you can’t play the cello at twenty degrees Fahrenheit. Nor can you sing well at that temperature, so I’ll give her a pass.

I blame the 24-hr news cycle and the internet.

No seriously.

Prior to either of those becoming very prominent, say in the mid-80s, you had 3 main news sources- broadcast news (TV/Radio), newspapers and magazines. Since they were at most a couple times a day, they had to be kind of choosy in what they published or broadcast.

Contrast that with something like CNN that has a website and television channel running 24 hours a day, and it seems to me like you either have stuff that doesn’t update that often, or you pad it out with a bunch of ever changing fluff, like whether or not Beyonce lip-synched, or who Taylor Swift is dating, or if Justin Bieber puked on stage.

In the clip where he pukes on stage you still hear his voice, because he’s backtracking.

I’m actually of the reverse opinion. I can understand why for logical and practical reasons somebody would lip sync outdoors in freezing weather to a mob of people, but if I paid to see them I would want it to be live.

I think it was incredibly- to coin a word- *shitty- of the Marine Corps Band spokesperson to ever make a statement on the matter. WTF was the purpose of that other than to cause a tempest in a teapot?

I’m wondering now if it’s actually Beyonce that they’re supposed to grill Hillary about today instead of Beyonce.

See, I didn’t know that. I understand the reasons, but there’s a part of me that still considers it bad form.

The morning news shows here are just horrible.

I think part of the reason is that if it isn’t happening in our back yard, we don’t give a damn. There is actually quite a bit happening - in Mali, in Europe, in Asia and probably many other countries as well. But most news shows don’t have any reporters there and thus no real coverage about anything unless they fly their news crew over for some huge disaster or some royal wedding or whatever. Otherwise, non-USA news is considered irrelevant.

Instead of interesting segments on gun control or immigration or same-sex marriage or education or employment trends or medical/technological breakthroughs or climate issues - we get segments on how to make a salad with yogurt dressing, how to arrange flowers, how to wrap a gift, how to buy milk and other fascinating subjects that would bore anyone to death in less than a minute.

How are things going in Iraq these days?
What is going on with Iran?
Did the war just stop in Syria?
Are the refugees getting help on the Turkish border?
What is China doing about their huge pollution problems causing cities to go orange?
Starvation in Africa over now?
Weren’t there some elections in Germany that might change the political climate there?

Oh, sorry - you wanted to show me how to wash pillows safely in my washing machine. OK then…

The inauguration actually is news even if it’s ceremonial and not exactly dramatic. No, the individual details of the performances at the ceremony aren’t really newsworthy. This is pretty much the definition of a slow news day story.

She did perform. She was recorded with the band earlier in the day, I assume because they thought the cold weather might screw up her singing.

It’s been shown - conclusively, to my mind - that the viewing public has next to no interest* in watching bad news about tragedies and people hurting and things totally out of their control in the morning as background to getting their day started. Every effort to feature hard news in the morning has failed miserably. The morning shows respond to their viewers.

If you - plural you - don’t like what’s on morning news, look in your mirrors for the reason.
*Except when a Newtown or something similar happens. Even then, what they want and demand are endless interviews with grieving parents who they can empathize with, not actual news about the underlying problems.

My recommendation: turn off the TV, and turn on NPR on the radio. Actual news, occasional fluff but not much.

I still kind of think that’s bad form. If the President of the United States invites you to perform, you should perform. If lip-synching were performing, then Ashlee Simpson did nothing wrong on SNL. If you don’t want to perform in subfreezing temperatures, refuse. Or the inauguration should be changed to have the entertainment elsewhere, indoors. But lip-synching is just cheating, playing pretend, even if it is still you. To do it in front of the President, who asked you to do something for him… Like I said, bad form.

Still not newsworthy, except for Entertainment Tonight, but still.

ETA: Caveat emptor: I heard complaints during the election that its opinion-izing got more conservative. Whether this means NPR as a whole has gotten more conservative, I have no idea. Just sayin’.

Eh, morning news shows are supposed to be 80% fluff and gossip. I don’t think there’s really any harm in it. If you want to hear about Mali, turn on NPR. Complaining that that kind of stuff isn’t shown on the Morning shows is silly, that’s not what Morning Shows are for.

James Taylor played the guitar and sang live yesterday. Kelly Clarkson sang live too in the cold. I guess Beyonce wanted everything perfect and wouldn’t risk singing live. Probably not the best decision. This was the President. I’d perform live for him if my guitar skills weren’t so rusty.

I agree OP. The news reporting today is just over the top. Remember when they called journalism the 4th estate? Journalism has diminished a lot since the 24 hour news cycle took over.

There’s a terrible horrible cold wave affecting the northern and central U.S., and as a result temperatures are reaching average minimums for January.

Somehow this seems less apocalyptic to me than the media is making it out to be.

Eh. Let’s not make this in to some kind of diss of Obama here: whatever contract she signed, I guarantee it allowed her to record herself ahead of time in case the elements were crappy, so everyone was on the same page. I guess the main question here is what was more important: an authentic performance from Beyonce, who is supposed to be a good singer but probably does this same kind of stuff when she’s on tour (with backing tracks, not full-on lip synching), or a song that sounded good because this was a presidential inauguration. A bad performance wouldn’t have ruined her career or anything, but there was some risk involved. Everybody knew that Yo-Yo Ma’s performance from 2009 was prerecorded for the same reason, but there wasn’t much agita. Maybe that’s just because the public doesn’t really know who Yo-Yo Ma is.

Different situation: she didn’t need to lip synch because of elements or any other reason. She did it because she isn’t much of a singer, and even in that situation her primary crime was getting caught. I don’t think a lot of people really felt deceived because Ashlee Simpson didn’t meet their high standards.