Last night, for the first time in a long time, I watched the KOIN-6 news at 11 p.m.
And I gotta tell ya, I'm amazed that anybody bothers to watch. Out of a 30 minute show, there was maybe 90 seconds of local news that wasn't about crime, fear, misery, and death. And the first one didn't happen until fourteen minutes in.
Here's the rundown. It bleeds and leads. Oh, does it ever bleed.
- An incident in Tualatin where somebody impersonated a city water inspector trying to gain access to someone's home. A guy leaves a bogus voicemail on someone's phone, didn't get into the house, and nothing happened. Yeah, that's the lead story. Big news, apparently.
- Another crime story. Some basketball players may have sexually assaulted "someone" in Molalla.
- The #3 story? A crime story... from Idaho. Kind of interesting, but not local.
- Then, a weird attempted rape story. The perp thought he was the Prince of England.
- The fifth story was a shooting in Gresham.
- Is it time yet for a non-crime story? Nope, the top six stories are all crime stories. This one is a prostitution bust in Beaverton.
- Number seven: a guy doesn't pay his bill at a hotel, he flees, and cops find stolen drugs.
- Next up, the victim of a attempted murder-for-hire "breaks her silence" (oh yeah, we were all waiting) to talk about her bad guy estranged hubby. As far as I'm concerned, eight is enough.
- The ninth story? A fire in Milwaukie. Oh wait, the cause is "still unknown." Not sure if that's crime - but it's still the usual misery.
- Story #10. FINALLY! Some local non-crime news. Unfortunately, it's about the Portland soldier recently killed in Iraq. We're still in the it-bleeds-it-leads land of misery and death.
- Back to fear, fear, fear... all about a missing autistic man who wandered off. Good news - he was found safely.
- OK, it's a dozen stories tonight -- and we've got a nice segue to some tape of a guy giving a lecture about safety tips for autistic kids. That's odd. It's fear, but it's not a crime story. Oh no, wait for it... wait for it... "Portland police used a taser on an autistic teenager..." Phew!
- Lucky number 13? Nope. It bleeds-and-leads, though it's not crime... a story about the Oregonians who died in that Indonesian jetliner crash.
- Well, we're done with crime for a moment, but this time it's a national story about John McCain and Iraq. Yeah, got that on the national news five hours ago, Jeff. Thanks, though.
- Next up? Barack Obama wants universal health care. Whoo hoo! Do they offer up the local tie-in? After all, Obama's speech today made mention of Senator Ron Wyden's plan... Nope, KOIN-6 left that out. Wouldn't want to include the local angle.
OK... time for some promos and a commercial break. We're ten minutes in - and we haven't yet had a local news story that isn't about crime, fear, misery, and death. Let's keep going.
- A brief interview with the author of a book... about the street family murder in Portland.
- Story #17... Wahoo! FINALLY! "A rare deep sea fish washes up on the Oregon Coast." That's a weird lookin' fish. Sure would be nice to have some video. But there's no burning building, no perp walk, no sobbing victims... so all we get is a still photo "Courtesy of the Oregon Aquarium". Nonetheless, after 14 minutes, we finally get some local news that's not misery. (Except maybe for the fish.)
- Consumer news you can use. It ain't local, but a warning about how banks are screwing consumers who overdraft on their debit cards. Is that video from San Diego? (I'm honestly not sure, but I think so.)
- Next up... a story about a book written in Finnish - using entirely TXT MSG codes. Now, I'm semi-fluent in Finnish, so maybe that's news I can use... but I'm not guessing most Portlanders will find that story very compelling. A book in txt-msg Finnish? Am I even watching the local news anymore?
- Twenty stories in. Time for local news again? Nope. This one is a silly story about a goof at a company that bleeps airline movies. They bleeped "God". Hmmm.
- Next up? Nicole Kidman got hurt in a Hollywood car-crash stunt. Yup, local news from California. Must be a pretty serious injury for Oregonians to care. Oh no, it's just "a few scrapes and bruises. She's back on the set today." Phew!
- "What a treat for country music fans." Story #22 - George Strait played at the Rose Garden. OK, I'm feeling generous. Let's call this one the second local news story that isn't crime, misery, fear, and death.
Let's promo the weather, and see more ads. And we're back.
- Weather. Foggy. Whatever. At least nobody got hurt... Oh wait! Jeff's pal Kelley Day is worried about slick roads. Watch out!
Time for more ads. Before we do that, Jeff will promo some guy slamming his body into a snowbank. He doesn't want us to get through a segment without at least one injury.
Time for sports. It's Ed's turn.
- UW beat UO in basketball. Hey, check it out! That's a local news story and nobody died or got hurt! Three stories out of the first 24 - and one is sports and one is country music.
- A couple more scores, and Ed's got some excellent video of those guys jumping and crashing their snowmobiles. On purpose. In Colorado. Boring.
- Next up, a Super Bowl survey -- apparently, we men would rather watch the Super Bowl than date a supermodel. Can I watch the Super Bowl with a supermodel?
- Last story. #27. Tiger Woods and his wife are having a boy. This is news? Even worse, some drunk guy joking about it.
The "local news" is over. Jeff wants to know about that fog tomorrow - watch out everybody! - and David Letterman is up next.
Seriously, Jeff. When you told your mama that you wanted to grow up to be a journalist, did you really expect to spend your evenings reading the police blotter, promoting celebrities, and joking with the weather and sports guys?
Seriously? I don't expect you to be Jim Lehrer. But this is ridiculous.
Other than crime, fear, misery, and death, today's count is one local sports story, one local entertainment story, and some still photos of a fish. Did absolutely NOTHING of substance happen today?