Monday, September 2, 2019

Streaming Network News: Quality?

Happy Labor Day holiday weekend! "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." 

America has turned into an anti-labor endeavor of the part of the rich and powerful. We need to consider and reflect on that today, and all that we can do to continue turning that around. A country is not built upon its wealthy and powerful, but upon the engine of its existence...the people.

Some argue Unions, labor concerns, and government caring about its citizens is socialism. Pure socialism is dysfunctional just as pure capitalism is but hybrids work. Like in America, when it's allowed by those in power who tend to fight it tooth and nail. Who tend to call entitlements such things as social security, Medicare, and healthcare for all. While actual entitlements THEY want, for big business, as unquestionably necessary and not to be discussed but simply given, no matter what. Even against all reason and the damage, it does to our government, our citizens and our trust in our leaders, mostly Republicans as the belonging to the party of big business and apparently citizen discare and abuse..

Irish Central argues: Labor Day is an 'Irish holiday,' as the Irish created the union movement

OK. Enjoy...

In 2016 I retired from a career in IT, sold my house of 16 years where my kids grew up most of their lives in and moved to another nearby town of Bremerton. Ironically a town I'd avoided all my life after being put in jail for the afternoon one fine early summer day when I was in 12th grade and visiting my girlfriend who lived in Bremerton and went to Olympic College (yeah, back then in high school, few believed a 12th grader in Tacoma, had a girlfriend in college, in another town, nearby or not...though my close friends did knowing I wouldn't lie).

I was just sitting there waiting for her to stop by for lunch, at a friend's house, with her best girlfriend and ex-boyfriend (older than me and her) who introduced us. when I was 17. I was innocent of anything that day, and they let me go. I've detailed this story elsewhere. In being the only town I was ever tossed into a jail cell in, and because back then Bremerton sucked (it's really nice now) and kind of a rough Navy town, I never wanted to return here after we split up. Until I moved here in 2016 and both myself and my two adult kids found it a pretty nice community ... now.

I was shooting for, as I still am, for a career change, not actual retirement. Like many, my retirement funds aren't what they need to be. But I had enough of a cushion to allow me this attempt into a creative career in writing and filmmaking. A luxury I didn't have while my kids were being raised. As I just noted to a friend who said he was impressed with what I'm doing as he wouldn't try it at this stage in his life...I had really had it with working in IT and it was quit or retire. So I retired and decided I had the ability to go for it. I'm making the best of it so far. In the end, I'll either fail and look stupid, bor succeeded and appear smart and courageous. Time, very soon, will tell.

That meant I needed to change my lifestyle, cut my overhead, and lose some amenities and luxuries. One of those being news and entertainment access. I dropped my DirecTV satellite which I'd had for years and had never wanted Comcast because everyone I knew who had it, complained about it and I'd had no complaints with DirecTV. Besides, for years they refused to run a line out to the community I lived in, which was in the woods. Not far off, only a mile out of town, but if you wanted "cable" you needed a non-cable cable. Or pay for the cable to be strung? Really Comcast?

Once I got moved to Bremerton (from Suquamish, where Chief "Seattle" is buried), I signed up with Comcast. I wanted faster internet speeds and had tired, to be honest, of atmospheric conditions screwing up my viewing times.

One of my favorite shows and one I missed the most, was/is Rachel Maddow. Also Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Which I still can't get.

One of the things I like about Rachel is her cheerful attitude, her understanding of what the hell is going on and her ability to deliver complex issues today through a historical perspective. Essentially educating her viewers.

Something I don'/t see on Fox News, or much of anywhere else. It's what I've liked about some PBS news shows. A deeper, more academic perspective. So I'm going to use her show as a vehicle to exemplify what I'm talking about in this blog for this week.

Let me take this brief aside as I've gotten hammered by various conservatives I know about being in a liberal bubble (while it really is them in a far more corrupted conservative bubble), saying I only watch MSNBC (I don't, only Rachel on there), Or only CNN (I don't, not at all, unless I'm at an airport maybe).

I actually have always gotten my news worldwide, since college, ever since the 60s as a kid watching PBS. I found it fascinating there were other ways of delivering the news, fewer articles and deeper perspectives. Back then I did watch Walter Cronkite, and so on. Those were good days when news was a "loss leader", not for profit, or for entertainment, but real journalism.

I watched broadcast news shows for years and then I did like CNN for a while, in its beginning. But in the past years since college, I've leaned on a wider perspective. How do other nations view us? How accurate is our news? What are they missing? What are they too focused on? And since the last Iraq war, how much are they too closely aligned with our government.

Informed consideration, not political belief.

I do my best to receive and assimilate actuality in reality. I don't see that effort much on the conservative side.

I get my news now from all over. I see someone post something, I research it (if it's interesting) before I share it (mostly). I research down two or three levels while most do one level if even that. I review news from all over the world. I rarely watch American news, not MSM, or faux news as is on Fox News entertainment "news" shows. I review other information from intelligence sources available to citizens. Janes, FBI, even CIA, sources, raw journalists' comments in areas of concern, and so on.

I watch news shows from Japan, Canada, UK, Al Jezeera, and other countries. I do NOT watch Russia Today (or their disingenuous obfuscating moniker, RT), Sputnik or read Pravda (the misnamed Russian State News agency which disingenuously means, "Truth").

So yes, I'm well informed, with a background, education, and history involved in professional levels research, world history, civics, and covert intelligence research. I am, therefore, far better informed than most American citizens. There are obviously others far more informed. But for a citizen, I think I do pretty well to stay level headed and rational with actual facts and information.

Before retiring I had MSNBC and so I had The Rachel Maddow Show (TRMS). When I moved/retired, I cut my paid channels down to basic and lost her show. I missed Rachel. But two years, no Rachel.

Then I moved a mile away into a far smaller home, with a much more reasonable monthly rent (yes, dumped having a mortgage and just rent now...I hope to buy another house, but I want to pay it off, with no mortgage as I do now when I buy cars).

I moved as I said, and moved my Comcast cable. A friend, an actor I had used on my audiobooks and now in my filmmaking, mentions Rachel at times, as he has her show at home, and sometimes good-naturedly teases me about my not having her. I got to wanting to figure out how to get Rachel's show back.

I discovered on my LG smart TV something I'd known about but never much bothered with, "Live TV", streaming TV off the internet. MSNBC is in there. So I started messing with it and discovered, Rachel's show was on it!

I started watching streaming TV and discovered some interesting things. Like, the network doesn't much care about the quality of their shows on streaming. It's a bizarre world of broken segments, ads you HAVE to watch (can't scan past or skip as with a DVR), and weird juxtapositions of shows, internally speaking.

I'll say upfront, even though I'm a high-level computer and internet savvy one time professional, I haven't researched this issue and don't know much about the format or issues of networks presenting their shows on the internet. I'm just relating it as a consumer and a viewer. So I'm happy to hear knowledgable explanations for my following complaints.

I couldn't figure out at first what the hell was going on with Rachel's show. And then, they took it off streaming on Live TV. I lost her show again. But, what I realized was, they were running the segments of her show...backwards! It was starting with the last segment of the show first, then go backward until at the end you had the beginning. WTF I mean, really? But before I lost access to her show on streaming, they seemed to be changing it around to be more in proper order. OK, progress. But again, what the hell? I even posted on their website asking, what the hell people?

Anyway, she was gone again. Until...Amazon Prime day. I have a Kindle Fire HD 7" and on Prime day I got a 10" Kindle. I'd also heard about Amazon Fire TV Stick. Cheap, so I got one. And discovered that I could now again access MSNBC and other things. And I had back, Rachel's show!

So I started watching again, though I have to wait until the day after to see the previous day's show. . It seemed the show was better handled on this format which is apparently streaming, but different, more ordered and not just seemingly (to me) so randomly presented. There's a menu system for each show offered.


Again there are the ads I cannot skip as I can automatically now, on my Tivo Bolt DVR. Something I'd been looking forward to for decades. Still, the attention to detail on these shows is frustrating at times. At times, at the end of a segment, they cut it off before the end of the segment.

When the adverts are over, you see that cut off ending, then the brand logo, then the next segment. The commercials, ones you have to watch, or mute as I do as they are so annoying (I mean, animals selling big pharma products? bizarre) and the same commercials again and again, saturation advertising for the dumbest among us. So annoying.

My point? IF they know, and they do know, that we are forced (no ad-skipping capabilities) to watch their adverts, then they are making money off these ads. To be sure. So at least they could do some due diligence regarding the quality of their presentations of their shows.

IF the argument is there's only one tech putting these shows online and they are overworked or something, they're still making money! Give us the quality we're actually "paying" for in watching adverts. We're not just your poor unwashed, we're your customers, your ad viewers, so give us the paid for attention we deserve!

Enough with this sketchy quality nonsense on streaming!

Also, monitor and keep the audio synced up with the video? Just a basic tenet of production, right?

It's time that streaming is given as much attention as cable, paid cable or broadcast TV.

It's time. It's passed time.

You're all professional organizations.

Act like it. Be professional.

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