Does Anyone Watch ABC Anymore?

I wonder if my letters of protest to ABC over their upcoming “dramatization“ of 9/11 would be more effective if I actually watched any of their programs, other than an occasional football game?

Truthfully, most of television has become profoundly irrelevant to me. The only dramatic show I watch with any regularity is “The Closer,? and I doubt I would be watching that regularly if there was anything better on.

My television watching is generally limited to the Mariners, “The Daily Show,? and occasionally glimpses of CNN Headlines while eating lunch.

Thank goodness for the internet or I’d really be cut off from the world other than an occasional visit with other retired individuals while out walking and birdwatching, occasional breakfasts with fellow poetry lovers, and time spent with kids and grandkids.

It seems to me that the American media is determined to become as obsolete as American auto makers. Does ABC think they can somehow appease neo-conservatives by presenting right-wing docudramas? Or having previously infuriated the religious right, are they merely trying to insure that they alienate all possible constituencies?

More broadly, I’m concerned with the increasing tendency to “fictionalize? history, to present it not through well-researched docoumentaries but through fictional accounts that have no need to “stick to the facts.? I remember how outraged I was when students told me a high school history teacher was using television mini-series to “teach history,? or, at the very least, to supplement historical texts that already seemed more determined to indoctrinate students with patriotic fervor than to reveal the kind of deeper truths that allow democracies to function effectively.

At the very least, ABC’s determination to air a show written by a conservative writer who
“spoke on a panel titled, ‘Rebels With a Cause: How Conservatives Can Lead Hollywood’s Next Paradigm Shift‘“
would seem to further undermine the credibility of their news broadcasts at a time when all of the networks are struggling for market share.

Certainly such a show once and for all should dispel the myth of “the liberal media? bias, which apparently referred to long-abandoned attempts of the media to provide an “objective,? “factual? view of the events of the day. No wonder bloggers believe that they are just as credible as the network media. No one needs to worry about facts anymore. Spin is all.

4 thoughts on “Does Anyone Watch ABC Anymore?”

  1. I watch ABC, but not the programs you mentioned. They do have as much good stuff as any of the other networks. I use TV to de-stress; sort of a “check your brain at the door”, although I watch a lot of Discovery and Travel and health channels. The 3 main networks are used for pure entertainment and humor.

  2. I watch very little TV. There is too much to read and do to give my time to contentless mainstream media. However, I have written to ABC to tell them explicitly that I object to this “docudrama” and will return as a viewer when they make an effort to demonstrate integrity in their programming choices.
    For what that’s worth.

  3. I find myself unconcerned about the ABC movie about the disaster. I don’t think it will affect the opinions of any thinking, intelligent viewer, and unthinking, unintelligent viewers doubtless have few thoughts, and those are already fixed in place. Maybe I’m wrong. Since “news” broadcasts themselves are all basically editorials, why would I expect docudramas to be anything else?

  4. Loren, I have no problem with a creative, even wildly imaginative, treatment of a historic topic as long as the piece is labeled correctly. Case in point is LITTLE BIG MAN, a movie I love because it uses a past event (genocide of Indians) to comment on a present event (Vietnam). Custer, symbolic of the American Government, is arrogant, reckless, unwilling to admit a mistake (sound familiar?), and, finally, quite mad. But I’m not sure I even UNDERSTAND the term “docudrama.” I mean, what’s that? I expect a documentary to rely on factual information, even if it has a particular point of view. I expect a drama to be a fiction. Everything is getting blurred these days: news and entertainment, fact and fiction. Once, I was teaching a university honors class, and we were watching a documentary about the Vietnam War. It had heartrending footage. A troubled student came up to me afterwards and said, “I know I should have been disturbed by what I saw, but I wasn’t. I felt like I was watching a fictional movie.” She was quite distraught, and I really felt for her. I didn’t watch the docudrama on ABC. We don’t have satellite or cable, so I have even fewer choices than you do. Thank goodness for PBS or there wouldn’t be anything for me to watch, hardly.

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