Lindsey Vonn for Best Actress

March 7, 2010 · 3 comments

When individuals struggle with intrusive thoughts and try to calm the resulting anxiety by repetitive behavior, it’s called “obsessive-compulsive disorder.

When networks do the same thing, it’s called “comprehensive coverage.”


It’s one of the reasons we don’t watch much TV. It’s not the only reason: we also like to read, write, play Scrabble, take long walks on the beach, talk, not talk, eat soup… But it’s a big part of the equation.

I don’t know anyone who eats the exact same meal, or wears the same outfit, or listens to the same playlist five days in a row. Yet TV news programming seems to suffer from obsessive fixations on single “hot” topics and people to the exclusion of anything else that might be happening in the world. And someone must be watching, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

The guilty parties know who they are. That’s all we’ll say, except for this: quit it, will ya? We really shouldn’t be encouraging this type of behavior.


CNN will air the same 30-second clip of a street sign blowing in the wind during a storm in Florida 18 times in a row. How many times did I need to see OJ Simpson’s white Bronco meandering down the freeway? And of the 217 US athletes participating in the 2010 Olympics, I was left with the images of red hair and big teeth, joy tantrums of skis pumping in the air, and a little flavor-saver goatee burned into my retina.

And this is too bad, because Shaun, Lindsey, and Apolo are all very fine athletes who I’d rather admire than resent from relentless over-exposure.


Hey, Mr. Programming Director? “Please give me more coverage” is not the same request as “Please give me the same coverage, more.”

Okay, so networks spend a fair chunk of change to be on my screen. NBC alone forked over $5.5 BILLION for the US broadcast rights of the Olympic Games from 1996 to 2012. This may give them (and their sponsors) a certain amount of leverage in determining who is, and who is not, eligible for “poster child” status and preferred spotlight time.

But at the end of the day, we, Joe and Josephine Consumer, have three weapons at hand that trump any decisions the media make about who and what they air:


… the channel changer, the DVR fast-forward function, and TV on/off button.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lilian June 10, 2016 at 7:17 am

Woot, I will celaitnry put this to good use!


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