News Wheel From Hell

Never before have I wished so hard to have a remote control in my hand.

I recently sat in a waiting room for hours as my son went under the knife for a knee ailment. On the TV was YNN, our local Time Warner 24 hour news channel.

ynnI am not a huge YNN fan.  Their stories are superficial, providing just the sparest details, and usually presented by rookie reporters who look like they’re desperate to jump to one of the broadcast stations. Say what you will about local news, but at its best, reporters will find a hook that makes their story unique or an angle nobody elese has. YNN? Never.

But that’s OK. YNN is basically a headline and weather service designed for short term viewing. This is knows as a “news wheel,” where everything is pre-recorded and programmed to repeat. That’s fine if you’re watching for ten minutes, but try having it on for FOUR HOURS.

I tried to ignore it and read my book — the terrific Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain — but as YNN droned on and on in the corner, endlessly repeating the same stories, I wanted to thrust pencils into my ears. Even permanent deafness would be better than listening to that crap.

I realize that a waiting room is no place for TV that ignites the fury of viewers like Fox News or MSNBC, but why not innocuous fare like the Food Network? Most of the people sharing the waiting room were there, like me, for hours.

Or is there another reason we’re being subjected to YNN?

YNN now has a deal with Stewart’s Shops to show the news channel in their stores, so is it possible businesses like medical offices and oil change joints are getting a deal on cable for playing YNN. I’d bet money on it.

Meanwhile, where are the earplugs?

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