By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
I was frustrated on Monday afternoon when I went to tune into some news, and three of my six saved stations were broadcasting the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. The other three were playing their regularly scheduled programming –tech investing advice, an author interview, and a true-crime drama – which is fine and expected on those stations.
But it wasn’t what I was looking for.
What I wanted was breaking news and analysis of current headlines. Instead, I was getting the music of a funeral procession, followed by a solemn sounding fellow I assumed to be the officiant (with the American broadcasts just a few seconds behind the British.)
I expected coverage from the BBC. They’re the British Broadcasting Corporation after all. Even the BBC World Service station playing it didn’t surprise me, even though I usually tune into them for the coverage out of Africa and Asia you can’t really find anywhere else.
But the other two stations are American based. I expected some coverage. A brief check-in with a reporter outside the funeral, talking to folks in the procession line, maybe. A recap of Elizabeth’s life and reign. Then back to the news.
But no. We were getting the full event, live as it happened, with no commentary – which seems even more ridiculous on radio than it does on television.
Now, far be it from me to tell another news station how to fill their time. Lord knows I’ve done my share of writing on niche interests. And there must be some market for it, or they wouldn’t broadcast it. But I’ve never understood the fascination some of my fellow Americans have with the British monarchy.
Heck, I don’t understand their own fascination with a fully ceremonial position of inherited privilege, but it’s their country. There are a lot of things I don’t understand about other countries. (The nearly spoiled fish they eat in Sweden. The worm-ridden cheeses of Sardinia. Why the Japanese put mayo in things that should never include mayo.)
It’s strikes me as particularly peculiar here, though.
Despite how peculiar I find it, I have friends who are following it moment by moment. I’m sure some of our readers are invested in it, if for nothing more than the pomp and pageantry.
I’m sure I’ll hear from some of you about my take on the Queen and her funeral.
But before you write that letter to the editor (which I will gladly consider for publication), let me make sure I’m clear. I’m not criticizing you for being interested.
I’m only slightly criticizing the news organizations for milking this story over the past week like a borrowed cow.
I’m simply expressing how perplexing I find the whole thing.
(I feel the same way about the Kardashians and ranch dressing, by the way. I know other people are in love with them, I just don’t get it.)
I do have the deepest sympathy for a family who have lost a matriarch, and I understand that a country has lost a monarch.
But American news organizations pointing a microphone or camera at the event and walking away for the duration? It’s either laziness or exploitation, and I expect better whichever it is.
Jeremy D. Wells can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.