My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


TV News is split into two basic categories, Hard News and Infotainment. Infotainment refers to a general type of news media broadcast program which either provides a combination of current events news, entertainment programming, or an entertainment program structured in a news format. Hard news embodies two orthogonal concepts. Seriousness, meaning a focus on politics, economics, crime, war, and disasters along with certain aspects of law, science, and technology. And timeliness, including stories that cover current events like progress of a war, the results of a vote, the breaking out of a fire, a significant public statement, the freeing of a prisoner, an economic report of note. The less hard news coverage a station has, the prettier the girls reporting it seem to be. It’s like a sliding scale of news creditability. At the top of this infotainment scale is the hardcore NILFs over at Fox News. Megyn Kelly, one of the co-host of America's Newsroom on Fox News is on the right.

Moving up the Hard News vs. Infotainment scale is the women over at E! Online. The host of E! News is Giuliana Rancic and was ranked #94 on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2004. Sure she is both attractive and informative, but she is still at a level where her looks distract from anything that she is talking about. Double standard, yes. Reality, yes. Fair, no. But you know that life isn’t fair. Besides, who do you think that these women are for? Is the news that hard to read from a prompter? Are two hour interviews, edited down to about ten minutes, really that hard to pull off? Are there more skilled journalists who aren’t as attractive that would do a better job?

You know the answers to those questions as well as I and you know exactly why these pretty women are where they are.Further down the list is the wonderfully wide-eyed and jejune Katie Couric. This is what happens when a good idea goes too far. Sure she’s incredibly nice, attractive, and is always happy to smile at the camera. Just look at that picture. No matter what she’s talking about, she still has a smile behind it. It doesn’t matter if she’s talking about terrorists invading our daycares or how much puppies are cute; it’s still going to sound nice. And really, what more do people need? It’s the same as reading the news on the internet with one of those banners for a dating service off to the side. Look, Iran is getting the bomb, but check out the bomb in the over there on the side of the page.

Which brings us to CNN. Being the first with 24 hour news, they learned early on that there was a certain level of NILFness that needed to be displayed in order to maintain certain people’s attention throughout long stories or on slow news days.

Check out Heidi Collins of CNN’s Newsroom. Here you will find women who are attractive, yet business-like and professional. Sure they probably still qualify as NILFs, but it’s not overpowering or blatant as some of the other stations. This is about the level that you want to look for whenever looking for serious hard news without hardons. CNN has found a good balance of professional women who just happen to be NILFs.

This leaves PBS and journalists like co-anchor of the Nightly Business Report Susie Gharib (pictured on the right) in the all hard news category. Strong, independent, still attractive in a woman-who-knows-what-she-wants kind of way, but it is by no means distracting. Now there are some abnormities like Nancy Grace, who probably placed where she is to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Now I know what you are saying, Nancy Grace isn’t a NILF. She looks like someone beat-up a bulldog, gave it the voice of an angry blender, and the personality of a disgruntled carnie with a raging case of gout, but she is the rare exception. For the most part, the women on news channels fairly depict the seriousness of the news being covered. So when you are flipping through the channels trying to find out about the latest story, don’t be so easily distracted by the pretty NILF on the screen. Instead, look for one that is just attractive enough to give you the news without making you want to move on to the story about bras and knee-highs.

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