Rankings: 24-hour TV news

RTV launched an American daily newscast, live, from the belly of the beast, on January 14 at 4pm, 4 half hour newscasts, split by an hour of discussion and analysis (The Alyona Show, 6pm.et, 2300z) (RTV newsroom, Washington D.C., 4:00-8:30pm.et, 2100z-0130z).

A few months back, I decided to investigate this, english language TV news, the 24-hour news channels on the satellite.

I bought 8 TVs (need a couple more), 12 tuners, and turned them all on, at the same time, a regular newsroom. Now, I can’t imagine watching only one TV, it would bore me stiff.

You soon know what the story is, and then a very interesting drama develops, who will say what (if anything) about it, what facts will they add or subtract, what lies will they tell, what spin, what inferences will they strive to induce. I mute them all, and then switch among them, for audio, and click the usb recorders on and off (big files).

Here’s how I rank them, 12 of them, over 4 months (September 22 2009 to January 14 2010):

1. Press TV (Tehran), the best news on the satellite, bar none, head and shoulders above the rest, it’s big, a website to match, with archives. They originate a large amount of news, from many reporters, on the ground, much of that news, days and weeks, before it appears (if ever) on other channels. They’re everywhere. Something happens, practically anywhere, up pops a young person, a local national, a ptv microphone, giving a report, interviewing a witness, an analyst, the camera panning the scene. It’s a jolt. A high-tech time machine. An abrupt return to the past. An era decades disappeared, before news morphed into entertainment, lies, and propaganda, in the U.S. and U.K. too. Calm, courteous, presenters, a lot of guest interviews and discussion, live events, and a collection of wonderful programs, daily news analysis (1832.gmt), daily “round the world with reporters,” a new documentary every day (in parts over several days, some of them), Iran Today news, Iran (learn about it), debates, interviews, opinion, Fineprint (twice weekly news critique).

2. Al Jazeera English (Doha), second best. Less news, but good news, Inside Story (daily news analysis, 1730.gmt), good programs, debates, interviews, documentaries, fewer reporters. Spoiled by lies about Iran, but the least worst liar about Iran, and mostly honest about Israel.

3. France 24 (Paris), third best. A lot of news, international and France, in about equal proportions, excellent studio discussions with guests, themed collections of weekly news (americas, europe, africa, maghreb, france, health, environment, more), a daily and weekly print news review, lies about Iran and Israel. A large number of presenters, reporters, excellent, courteous, knowledgeable, stylish.

4. RTV (Moscow), fourth best. Excellent news, but not much of it, which they originate, superior programs, news-talk and interviews, under-funded, looks to be, a big shortage of people, few reporters, hence, much repeat of each day’s programing, but with some few live interruptions, updates, live talk, late in the day. Update: RTV launched a 5-hour American daily newscast on January 14 at 4pm.et, 4 half hour newscasts, split by a one hour discussion (The Aylona Show, 2300z), live, from the belly of the beast (Washington D.C., RTV newsroom, 4:00-8:30pm.et, 2100z-0130z). Looks like Russia decided to pay up and beef up, join other foreign broadcasters, and grab news audiences in the U.S. and elsewhere, abandoned by U.S. broadcasters who lost interest, it’s no longer of concern to them, that news costs more than it earns, but delivers much more value than it costs, democratically speaking, and in esteem.

5. BBC (London). Fifth best, excellent domestic U.K. news and politics, but BBC News committed suicide, about two years ago, on international news, sparse, very aggressive lies, about Iran and anything else touching Israel, joins the U.S., bullying Venezuela, Cuba, and their friends. Some daily programs are broadcast in the U.S., on public radio, and cable/satellite TV, obviously tailored to reinforce U.S. propaganda attacks on its own citizens, by the government and broadcasting elites.

6. Sky News (London). Sixth best, excellent presenters, and an honest foreign editor (Tim Marshall), much better than the BBC on the tiny amount of international news they originate — surprising, as it’s a Rupert Murdoch channel (News Corporation) — but much less international news than even the BBC. I have the feeling Sky News has a woefully small international staff, practically nobody, it seems. Domestically, very good on U.K. news and politics, equal to the BBC, in quality, but not quantity.

8. CNN (Atlanta), seventh. The worst news on the satellite, bar none (CNNi, Europe, Middle East programming). Insufferable, endless, inconsequential fluff, extensive commercial advertising interruptions, some few serious programs, spoiled by editorial dishonesty, hard-driving, breathtaking, lies, about Iran and Israel. Good on live breaking news, except for excessive filling, with rehash and repeats. I agree with Ted Turner, buried in acquisition debris (Time-Warner, AOL), his “For the Record” interview on Bloomberg TV, when asked what he would do, if he had his old job back (founder, CEO, of CNN), “Less talk, more news.”

These I haven’t ranked:

9. CCTV-9 (Beijing). Good news and interviews, but I haven’t studied their schedule. They originate news and features about China, an excellent interview program (Dialogue), worldwide news with video from other channels, but they don’t originate much news outside asia, don’t seem to have many reporters on the ground elsewhere. The world’s leading country this century, I expect they’ll decide to grow, with reporters on the ground everywhere the country goes.

10. NHK World (Tokyo). Long time pros. I haven’t studied their schedule, but I’ve seen some good interviews, news talk, original Japan news, politics, features, and worldwide news, with video from other channels, but they also don’t seem to have many reporters on the ground outside asia. They started a year ago (February 2009) (english language, 24 hours), Japan’s main broadcaster, they can make a big impact, if they decide to do it, invest in it.

11. Euronews (London). A consortium of European broadcasters, I’ve seen little unique to them, mainly voice-over narration of other people’s video, not reporters on the case originating reports, or news-talk analysis. But, I haven’t watched it much, or studied their schedule, so maybe they have some gravitas features I haven’t yet discovered.

12. Bloomberg (New York City). Charlie Rose, weekday interviews, a courteous, intelligent, host from the South, with good manners, but, like most of his guests, when the topic is Israel, or anything touching it — like Iran, Georgia, Middle East, Muslims — Charlie Rose turns psychotic, a liar. Bloomberg has one weekend half-hour political news show (“Political Capital”), a sometimes weekend debate (QED2), and weekend interview show (“For the record”), mostly repeats. It’s main output is financial news, which I rarely watched.

Missing. Subscription news channels. I only studied the FTAs (free to air). So, no NDTV 24×7, India’s “premier English language television network,” pity, as Indians usually grasp the point, and don’t lie about it. And none of the domestic U.S. news channels (Fox, MSNBC).

These foreign broadcasters, investing big money, in honest people, news, analysis, discussion–

These are powerful, new, democratic forces, and that guarantees, they will soon gain big audiences, and empower them–

I do hope the knowledge they impart will provoke a voter uprising, in the U.S., to throw the Israelites out, overturn the entire U.S. congress (keeping its few honorable members).

U.S. voters have the chance to do that every two years, to throw out the entire House of Representatives, and one-third of the Senate, and elect new members.

I hope they’ll do it, elect new members, who promise, in their campaign pledge, to impose sanctions on Israel, harsher and harsher, until that gangster regime disgorges the fruits of its 42-year violent crime wave, the armed robbery and colonization of Palestinian territory (two war crimes), which Israel occupied in the 1967 war. See, Charles Judson Harwood Jr., “Prosecuting U.S. complicity in Israeli settlement war crimes: plunder, colonizing, murder, arson.”

By doing good, U.S. citizens will also be rewarded, with the dissolution of the obscene DHS, Department of Homeland Security, zero its budget.

You don’t need to screen airline passengers, treat your own citizens as criminals, fear foreigners, when you are an honorable, honest, society.

The best defense which ever existed, still exists, if you earn it.

And, it’s free.


Charles Judson Harwood Jr (WarLaw)


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