Rolling news is sexist

Everyone I know that watches 24-hr news is male. I don’t know any women who watch it, presumably because they have better things to do. Like the dishes.

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I have a close friend who will quite happily plunk down in front of the telly for a while and watch Sky Sports News. I’ve always found this a bit sad. I mean how many times can you watch the ten-second highlights of Whoever United v Buggernose FC before you find something better to do with yourself. Or to yourself, depending on what sort of mood you’re in. Evidently, the answer is quite a few because said friend isn’t alone and indeed if you go to one of the many English pubs that have TVs but can’t afford the extortionate prices charged for the live games and show SSN instead, you’ll see more than one guy stood by the bar quite happily watching the same stories every fifteen minutes. Usually without sound. Fascinating.

But then some of you may be just as dubious concerning my TV habits. Now that Boston Legal and Battlestar Galactica are done, there’s nothing on telly I make a point of watching bar The Thick of It, which is also done. As a result I watch very little TV these days and even less where I’ve made the conscious decision to tune in at a particular time because of a particular show.

Except first thing in the morning. Now of course there’s naff all on first thing in the morning unless you want to watch whatever Teletubbies replacement is showing these days so I watch the news. And first thing in the morning there are no dedicated news shows like there are at 10 o’clock at night so I watch rolling news. Because it’s rolling news I know everything they have to say in less than half an hour, because half an hour in they start repeating the exact same stories and features. And weather. And I watch it again.

This is a curious phenomenon because typically three quarters of the news doesn’t interest me. Corporal so and so has died in Afghanistan. Tragedy? Yes, but something to talk about? No. It’s going to be cold today. Useful? Sort of but interesting enough to watch twice? No. Something’s going on in Copenhagen and the Chinese are cocking it up. Interesting? Evidently not. But I’ll quite happily sit, drink coffee and smoke for well over an hour and watch this bollocks knowing full well that the only parts I’ll keep in my head for more than fifteen minutes will have been seen within the first fifteen minutes. So why bother?

Bugger knows but I’m not alone. My flatmate will happily do the same. My dad does the same and oddly enough (or perhaps not), we’re all men. I don’t know any women who watch rolling news, presumably because they have better things to do. Like the dishes. But men watch rolling news and we have things to do as well, like scratching and running the country. So what’s the difference?

I’m led to believe it’s because men are inherently more interested in the important things in life. Leading on from above, I don’t know any women who actually watch the news. At all. Or at least, I don’t know any who talk about the news beyond what they saw in the lifestyle section of their favourite tabloid. This isn’t me being sexist (that was above. Did you see?), it’s just the way it is. Guys will often say, ‘I saw on the news this morning,’ whereas women will say, ‘apparently…’ which in itself is a nice indicator of how seriously to treat whatever follows. Guys say ‘apparently’ as well but it’s typically followed by a suitably dubious story as opposed to a seriously presented piece of rubbish on How The World Is. At my old workplace it was a common sight to see a guy with a newspaper and a woman with a glossy mag which cover story read something like, ‘My pet’s celebrity father’s weight-loss program for what’s on TV had twin recipes for Christmas in JUST 2 WEEKS!’

I’m at a loss to explain this. It’s not that men are more intelligent than women (or so I’m told). It’s just that for whatever reason, they’re more interested in important things as opposed to how Brittany Murphy died. And the football, of course.

So here’s a business plan for you. If women do watch morning TV in England they watch GMTV which along with a handful of news bulletins has all that diet fashion gossip crap on it as well. Clearly they are starved for TV so if you have 24-hr rolling news and 24-hr rolling sports then why not 24-hr gossip? There are already umpteen million rubbish shows for women on the box; just take the common elements from all and stick them on a TV channel and show them non-stop. Money-maker. Easy.

And once that’s done, we can ditch some of the main channel shows and replace them with ones where a load of middle-aged miserable men go on about football, beer, cars, Page 3 and how their wife is incompetent. There’s equal broadcasting for you.

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