My mother was always a huge fan of Larry King. Whenever I went to visit, we would have to sit and watch Larry. I actually found myself enjoying the interviews he had with a variety of individuals and found I often came away with some interesting information.
Mr. King is no longer a part of my mothers’ daily existence since her cognitive abilities have declined, but I took on her viewing habits and enjoyed his repartee almost as much as she did. Most recently my interest has declined as a result of his need to periodically have panels of guests rather than one. The result has often been a cacophony of voices vying for attention with no concern as to whether the viewer can understand one thing being said.
Unfortunately this seems to be the norm. There are now a plethora of shows with this type of verbal sparring with the host being the umpire. I would love to know and understand when we transitioned to this place of rudeness and arrogance.
The hosts seem as if they were coached to look and sound testy. Their faces and attitudes resemble teenagers who are in the midst of a snit with a parent. Whenever they are in conversation with a guest they often undermine or sand bag them so that they appear stupid and inept. Sentences are never finished nor points ever clarified since the goal is for the host to have the last word.
A lot of shows don’t even contain content that has any meaning, and they often have participants who are merely looking to be discovered for their bizarre behavior. After all weird can lead to having your own reality show, book deal and line of clothing!
Perhaps I’m reaching a point in my life where I am starting to sound like my mother and grandmother. Not a day went by without some comments being made about manners, humility and developing communication skills that allowed you to listen first, then respond. T.V. moguls seem to have lost sight of these values in lieu of getting high Nielsen ratings.
One can still be civil and stand their ground. Debating teams do it all the time, as well as some of the news reporters that I admire. I have watched Connie Chung, Chet Huntley, Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and my favorite, Christine Amanpour parry with all manner of individuals with grace, intelligence and manners.
You may think there’s nothing we can do. Well, there is! Change the channel.
Loretta LaRoche writes the Get A Life Column for the Patriot Ledger.