Are you a Cable-News Junkie??
Find out using this 3-part quiz.
Section One: You Might Be a Cable-News Junkie If... The Lingo
Which of the following terms do you sometime use as described below:
- You use “dog whistle” as a verb, as in “The candidate is clearly trying to dog whistle the faith community.”
- You use “walk back" as a noun, as in “I think we're gonna see some walk back on these statements.”
- You use “surrogate" as a job title for a high-profile, partisan, political ally, who will either be claimed like family or thrown under the bus, depending.
- You use “get” as a noun, referring to the acquisition of an elusive interview subject, as in: “Congratulations on the get, Rachel!”
- You use “tick-tock" to refer to a minute-by-minute itinerary for important official events. “We should have the tick-tock on the President’s visit to South Korea for you within the hour.”
Section Two: You Might Be a Cable-News Junkie If... The Coverage
Select one answer for each question.
1. Which of these is not a part of the press conference non-apology apology:
- A. “I’m sorry if you feel like that was offensive.”
- B. “I’m sorry that I was taken out of context.”
- C. “I’m very sorry. My behavior was offensive, and I'm the only one responsible. I am mortified, and deeply saddened by the hurt I've caused. I can only humbly pray that I will learn from this experience how to be a better person.”
- D. “I’m sorry I didn't use fancier words to say the stuff I really think.”
- A. Live footage of the fifth hour in a Senate filibuster of the latest energy bill.
- B. Analysis of a recent ad, which features the stricken faces of townspeople who lost their jobs and homes after a local switch to renewable energy sources, and the deserted playground where their pale, barefoot children once played.
- C. Experts in the applicable field presenting feasibility studies, impact projections, and credible cost/benefit evaluations.
- D. Panelists buzzing about the blogosphere buzz about the disputed attendance estimates for the anti-fracking rally on the National Mall.
- A. Seriously?
- A. “That is literally the most outrageous thing I have ever heard."
- B. “This is just typical, inside-the-Beltway thinking.”
- C. “You may have a point. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about this topic to responsibly offer an opinion.”
- D. “Once again they are attempting to enact a policy for their own selfish gain, on the of backs hard-working Americans.”
Section Three: You Might Be a Cable-News Junkie If... The Frenzy
You might be a cable-news junkie if you know that "the 24-hour news cycle" only contains news in the first hour, and is actually a 2-hour cycle, repeated 12 times. Note the level of recognition you feel reading the following example, and see scoring below.
“Speaking at a fundraiser in Ohio Saturday, Senator X said Y.”
“The question is, when Senator X said Y, did he mean to imply Z?”
“Some (the anchor of the previous segment) are now asking whether in saying Y, Senator X was actually signaling Z.”
“There is growing demand (on this network) for Senator X to clarify statements made over the weekend regarding Y. It has been suggested (by the anchor of the previous segment) that the senator may have been insinuating Z.”
“Staff members here have attempted to reach the office of Senator X to gain clarity about the meaning of his statements. So far, our calls have not been returned, leaving some (ibid) to wonder if there is something he is hiding.”
“Good evening. In the news today, Senator X was the focus of a swirl of controversy (on this network) regarding questionable statements made Saturday at a fundraiser in Ohio. The senator has yet to issue any statement regarding such statements about his statements. The debate centers on whether the senator’s comments about Y can be taken as an indication of his stance on Z. It’s too early to say how voters would respond if they were to learn what position Senator X has taken regarding Y or Z, but Washington insiders believe that if polling was done today, things would not look good for the senator. Observers (^) are saying that the people have a right to know where the Senator stands. One anonymous but extremely well-connected policy expert has suggested that the senator’s silence indicates that he fears if he speaks out about this he will lose his base.”
MSNBC panelist: “So, I mean, this is a typical hijacking of the debate by the 1%, right? This whole bent towards saying Y when you really mean Z is a distressing example of how privilege is employed to deny access. As I explain in my book, published by Cambridge University Press, available on bookshelves August 14th, $27.95 for hardback, you can’t talk about Y or Z without talking about race, class, and the international status of women. This senator is playing right into the fundamentalist meme of the post-911 patriot, underneath the paradigm of a very sort of Christian allegorical construct. Once you parse the senator’s statements, you can learn more from what he is not saying than from what he is saying.”
CNN panelist: “As you can see from the interactive module in our new "Y/Z" room, we're finding an almost unprecedented outrage in response to the senator's recent statements, in nearly ever demographic across the country. Let's take a look at our touch-screen Senatorial Statement Stance Survey. Once we control on either end for the Tea Party and Occupy movements, what’s left is a startling historical picture of what we’re calling “US Outrage Over Time”. If you watch how the green line follows these yellow arrows, you’ll see that we clearly have not seen politics this divisive since 1836, when a senior strategist from the Whig Party accused President Andrew Jackson of releasing a fake jobs report. Any U.S. historian will tell you that the media circus that ensued was so extraordinary that the Pony Express had to hire a hundred new riders, and town criers were seen actually crying. Until we hear more from the senator, viewers can Tweet what they think he meant at #SenXSezYMeansZ.”
FOX News panelist: “Well, folks, Senator X obviously loves moochers and hates God.”
“US Senator X from Ohio remains in the hot seat tonight. He continues to refuse to respond to or acknowledge our request that he either stand by or repudiate his statements. The question has been raised as to whether he is exploiting the talk about Y to secretly begin to wage a war on Z.
12:00 am to 8:00 am
>> 24 hours after original story <<
“Shocking allegations about Senator X emerged yesterday amid a media firestorm. After raising eyebrows with comments made Saturday, the senator appears to have gone to ground. His refusal to face the cameras has only fueled speculation. We bring you updates throughout the day.”
End of Quiz
Section One: The Lingo
Give yourself 1 point for each term you used correctly in the context provided.
5 points possible
Section Two: The Quiz
Give yourself 1 point for each correct answer.
4 points possible
Section Three: The Frenzy
Give yourself 0 points if you felt this section of the quiz was cute, but you've occasionally checked out these shows, and they seem to be talking about real things.
Give yourself 1 point if, while you do find the self-referential and splashy nature of the 24-hour cable news cycle annoying, you think it's overboard to suggest that so much coverage could be based on so little information.
Give yourself 2 points if you have watched in subdued horror as coverage like this unfolds. And watched. And watched.
Give yourself 3 points if you feel these heroic journalists fearlessly broach critical issues that some would prefer to sweep under the rug.
3 points possible
Results and Recommendations
If you scored 0 points, I don’t understand you and I’m not sure I trust you.
If you scored 1-3 points, you are not a cable-news junkie. You are a well-adjusted, average citizen, with friends, meaningful work, and dreams all your own. You compensate for being slightly under-informed about current events with a longer life expectancy. Don't hang out with cable-news junkies. Don't sleep with them very often. And never, ever marry one.
If you scored 4-7 points, you are almost a cable-news junkie. You're in a precarious position. Shake it off. Take a long drive in the country this afternoon, and no talk radio for you. Come on, you can't change the world single-handedly, can you? It's all useless blather anyway, right? Right? Stay focused. Be especially vigilant in the three months before any national election.
If you scored 8 or more points, you are a cable-news junkie. Actually, you are a pundit. What, do you have a blog or something? Do you realize that everyone but you knows you have a problem? Those people you commiserate with on facebook are not your friends. They are in it up to their necks, just like you. Your Vitamin D is bottoming out. Go outside naked; touch sticks and mud with your bare hands. Buy a real turtle. Check with a family member to see if your grandmother is still living. No, this condition won't resolve itself after the election. There is no treatment for it now, but the CDC is looking into it. It’s all over the news.