The panelists talk about the late Mike Wallace's lament about cable news, which he dismissed as “opinion, gossip, and scandal.”
Wallace said, “News today has become yammer, yammer, yammer. It's infotainment. It used to be a race to the top. To a certain degree news today is a race to the bottom.”
The late 1950s and the 1960s are sometimes referred to as being the golden age of television news. But those newscasts aired only once a day and lasted just 15 or 30 minutes. Reporters had an opportunity to develop their stories and the anchors didn't have time in the newscast to stray from the most essential stories of the day.
The Shop Talk panelists believe cable news is struggling to fill time around the clock. It's not easy to produce fresh, quality news programming 24 hours a day, so cable has resorted to offerings that involve a good deal of shouting (the same can be said for a lot of talk radio).
That's not to excuse cable news from its responsibility to strive for a higher quality product. But it won't happen as long as management continues to cut staff.