Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Confessions of an Ex Cable News Junkie

Hello my name is Bill, I am a cable news junkie. Recovering. I fell off the wagon a year ago and started watching hours and hours of cable news beginning with Keith Olbermann, then Rachel Maddow, then Chris Matthews, then Lawrence O'Donnell. Some nights I watched three hours of straight talk with the same topics regurgitated on every show but I didn't care. Hell, I was such a junkie I switched to Fox and watched The Factor and Sean Hannity during commercial breaks. Talk about addicted.

But I am back on the wagon and I have gone cold turkey. I have to say it has not been hard this time around. I don't know what happened, but suddenly I just didnt' care. I just couldn't buy off on Rachel's impassioned carefully researched, fully felt, emphatically delivered diatribes on why don't ask don't tell should be abolished and why it wasnt' happening. Maybe it is because it did happen and when she announced it on her show in a town hall meeting everyone clapped FOR HER like she was the President who had just accomplished getting rid of the policy!

Or maybe it was Keith Olbermann who I really dug and would watch sometimes two or three times a night! I just couldnt' get enough. But then I started to realize there were never any guests from the other side. And how many times can he have Eugene on from the Washington Post in his super hip glasses? Or the little guy from The Nation who stands in for him? Or Howard from Newsweek then the Huffington Post in his scarf and hipster long hair? It just began to feel regurgitated with his question at the beginning: How many of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Um, really none of them.

Or  Chris Matthews yelling at everyone and letting no one finish. Or Lawrence O'Donnell with his quirky sense of humor and his government experience allowing himself to get the last word. Or even Anderson Cooper keeping them honest with his white hair and dwarfish good looks. Don't get me wrong. I could easily fall off the wagon and go back to my old ways of watching three straight hours a night, but I think what is different this time is I started to wonder what else I could be doing with that time! And that's what really got me. Forget that it is really entertainment, that there are millions of people watching the guys on the other side, that it doesn't really matter at all because these are talk show hosts. Forget all that, here is what really got me back on the wagon and why I will never return to the cable news wasteland.

I could have probably written another novel with all the time I wasted in front of the boob tube getting riled up all night. Ouch. Now that hurts.
Rocket Man will be out in January

Books by William Hazelgrove