NEWSWATCH by Thomas Griffith: Revving Up the Television News

Newswatch

For 15 years or more, nightly network television news has been of a predictable muchness—earnest, responsible, muted. Behind the scenes, huge sums are involved in ratings rivalries, in promotional buildups of anchormen, in bouncing live pickups off satellites, in devising ever more elaborate news stage-sets—but what appear over the air are three lookalike, sedately animated versions of the New York Times. The professional news-gathering staffs of CBS, NBC and ABC have a caste solidarity. Their views generally prevail because the giant networks are concerned with prestige—and during most of the broadcast...

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