If you think the U.S. nightly news television broadcasts are focused on grabbing your attention with superficial content and news of fleeting value, you’re right. That’s at least what has been happening to ABCs World News Tonight, which now jockeys for the Nielson ratings’ top spot with NBC Nightly News.
Gradually, ABC has risen to the top of the charts for America’s most-popular TV news source after years of second-class ratings. ABC has replaced its heavier content with material engineered for the social media age. Its brighter, tighter and lighter content make it look and sound different from its nightly competition. Along with more emphasis on celebrity and entertainment stories, weather coverage and crime fare, it has added “news-you-can-use and even YouTube’s hottest videos.”
News from Washington, an important staple of its former broadcasts, hardly gets noticed in its new pop culture style. World News now devotes half as many minutes to Washington stories as CBS did during the first four months of the year, and about 40 percent less than did NBC, according to Andrew Tyndall, who tracks the networks’ newscasts. ABC no longer has a full-time correspondent assigned to the U.S. Congress.
In recent times, World News has even reduced the amount of world news it served up, leading with domestic news almost every night of the week in the month of May, for instance. But even its news from around the world is incredibly insipid. For instance, the breaking story on a Tuesday night in May was about a missing U.S. military helicopter in Nepal, even though the story was already 30 hours old. The second story was about a “scary landing” of a jet in Hawaii complete with pictures of the damaged plane. The broadcast also included video of a man being extricated from a car wreck, a home invasion caught on video and footage of two men flying jet packs in Dubai. All of this was at a time when serious issues were developing in Syria, Iraq Europe, Asia and other parts of the world that will certainly have a huge impact on ABC’s audience.
To make the broadcast more rapid pace and more “urgent,” ABC has reduced the average correspondent’s news report to just 100 seconds, compared to 138 seconds on NBC and 121 on CBS. During its metamorphosis, ABC has lost some of its experienced journalists to CNN over their disappointment about the changes at World News.
The ABC evening news broadcasts reflect underlying changes in society toward more social engagement and entertainment. People seem to bury themselves in Facebook and other social media. Social media itself has become a form of entertainment. The distractions have created a culture that is unaware and unprepared for the future. More people are less interested in the weighty matters. And while they “sleep,” the world is careening to an overwhelming crisis. While news outlets capitalize on the emerging culture, the masses are less and less capable of understanding the geopolitical changes and prophetic developments that should be arresting their attention. Their proverbial “heads are buried in the sand.” They cannot comprehend the global religious crisis that is soon to break upon the world.
“We are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Prophecy is fast fulfilling. The Lord is at the door. There is soon to open before us a period of overwhelming interest to all living. The controversies of the past are to be revived; new controversies will arise. The scenes to be enacted in our world are not yet even dreamed of. Satan is at work through human agencies. Those who are making an effort to change the Constitution and secure a law enforcing Sunday observance little realize what will be the result. A crisis is just upon us. Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, page 753
Without a doubt, Satan is pursuing a course through pop culture to keep the people from understanding the important issues of our times and from preparing for the crisis. More than ever, our attention should be fixed on the important unfolding issues of our times. More than ever, they need to be cast in their prophetic context.