Newswatch Thomas Griffith: Quality in the Off-Hours

Newswatch

Television has this strange habit of doing its best in the off-hours. To culture critics denouncing TV's wasteland, the explanation is simple: whatever is aimed at mass audiences is inevitably broader, shallower and shoddier.

This may be true of car-chase dramas and comedies with laugh tracks, but network news coverage isn't shoddy. CBS, ABC and NBC each spend about a million dollars a week on their nightly news. Big budgets made possible the satellite reporting from West Beirut; large American audiences agonizing over what they saw (including one viewer in the White House)...

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