WEEKENDER: Second Opinion – Twitter made me do it

WEEKENDER columnist Jim Holtz talks about what he thinks of tweets on the Global BC evening news.

  • Jan. 21, 2012 9:00 a.m.

I uttered an oath at the television screen yesterday.

I’m not proud of my behaviour however, I maintain that I have a valid excuse.

My wife disagrees. She maintains that I am showing signs of “the early onset of . . . ” Something, I forget what.

Anyway, my abuse of the small screen was brought about by two more indications that we are all being overwhelmed by a deluge of drivel.

The Global BC evening news had a story about a formula that predicted the year’s most depressing day, which happened to be Jan. 16.

The formula, we were told, was phony, a fake, a concoction of a PR company to stimulate January shopping.  That didn’t matter. Global spent three minutes covering it anyway.

The story featured interviews with shoppers, commentary from psychologists and tweets from viewers.  I began to squirm in my overstuffed chair when the interviews began and by the time the newscaster started reading tweets, I was ready to explode. I did explode.

There are hundreds of thousands of Haitians without shelter, gang shootings, protesters, rebellions in the Middle East, typhoons, shark attacks, loony Republicans vying for the U.S. presidency and the News Hour – the most highly regarded evening news program in the country we are told – is spending valuable minutes covering a phoney predictor of middle class melancholy.

It was the tweets that did it. I won’t tell you what I said but I will gladly own up to the outburst and in fact tell you that I am likely to re-offend. I don’t care that Megaboy thinks “January really sucks,” or that Phyllis21 believes “shoppings good Jan 16 cuz no crowds.”

I don’t watch the evening news to hear the inane rambling of people who have nothing better to do than tweet.

I want the news to provide an intelligent summary of important events throughout Canada, B.C. and the world. I want to hear what people have to say, who are more intelligent than I am with greater background in current affairs.

Why news programs all over, from CNN to Global, are beginning to read randomly over the airways the erratic reactions of viewers is absolutely beyond me.

My wife, as usual, added an appropriate word of caution, suggesting that I should reconsider what I was writing.

If people, in fact, stop being interested in “inane rambling” she mused, no one would read my column.

– Jim Holtz is WEEKENDER columnist and former reporter for the Grand Forks Gazette

Grand Forks Gazette