When top of the news isn’t top of the news

There will be no shortages of imponderables and incomprehensibles

Sometimes I find myself unreasonably nit-picking when listening to news broadcasts on major media outlets in the privacy of my own home – I admit I occasionally shout at the innocent TV set, which of course never responds.

I should preface by saying I do watch a lot of news broadcasts, probably more than many people, because they continually fascinate – or frustrate me.

And I should add to that preface I do have a few ‘favourite stations’ and there are some that I feel sometimes don’t do as good a job overall as the competition – last night was one of those occasions.

I usually watch major outlets of interest to me – CBC, CTV, CNN, NBC, MSNBC – but there comes a time every day when I finally tire of the repetitiveness of Trump and Trudeau’s big-mouth troubles, Brexit, riots in France, the day-to-day human disasters, tornadoes, plane crashes and frankly, even sound news content.

I’ve been heard to say, at noon and 11 p.m. “hey, let’s see if there’s a house fire in Vancouver, or a gang member shot in a drive-by in Surrey” – and switch to Global News, Vancouver.

Often I’m not disappointed as the words “total loss” wring out and hordes of firefighters hose water on a sad conflagration in the Lower Mainland.

I sympathize – I do, but while I like Global, they do have a somewhat “different” localized approach, and that’s occasionally where I nit-pick with the news director and the choices for “top of the news.”

Last night’s Global news broadcast wasn’t egregious but it stood out for me – the second item on the evening newscast was about the discovery of one of the six thrones hidden around the world by producers of the popular historic-fantasy TV series Game of Thrones in Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

OK, so far – but the third item, apparently seen as less important, was a police report of the arrest of a man who shot three people, killing one, in an attempt to hijack a vehicle in Vancouver.

That a highly-successful commercial promotion for a TV show somehow preempts a violent assault and murder seems a little odd in terms of how news is prioritized – then again, times have clearly changed across the news spectrum.

Look at the main items of that day.

Even the major talk shows – Colbert and Kimmel – opted to find the tale of TV actor Jussie Smollet’s apparent exoneration from 16 felony charges in Chicago more important than Donald Trump’s much-more-heralded, widely-smiling, hand-waving proclamation of “no collusion and no obstruction” interpretation of the (at-the-time-still-unseen) Mueller Report.

Again, that’s not to compare the big talk shows’ choice of entertainment and commentary content with that of the main news stations in the U.S. – they defer to the intriguing Donald Trump presidential saga almost constantly as top of the news but will shift easily with the enormity of other happenings.

But they are predictable – politics will always predominate, as it frequently does in Canada. A good example is the seemingly never-ending SNC Lavalin scandal and the Trudeau Liberals handling of the scandal front and center of the criticism.

Trump’s undoubtedly a driving personality, as are Trudeau, Merkel, Putin and the stars of the entertainment and sports worlds. What they do makes news and that’s predictable.

What I am seeing as less predictable in today’s news spectrum is what qualifies as top of the news, tonight! – that to me has become one of the rapidly changing facts of life.

No doubt elections in Canada this year and in the U.S. next year will again be uniformly front and center in news coverage – and the old adage “it’s never over until it’s over” is certainly going to prevail.

You can bet your boots there will be absolutely no shortages of imponderables and incomprehensibles, delusional and rational, but equally mind-boggling commentaries and controversies that will seriously tax the skills of the news editors at all levels.

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