Breaking News: Your Viewing Experience Is Irrelevant To Us


Sometimes, I wonder if TV networks ever think about their viewers.

Friday night, I fire up The Golf Channel, eager to watch replayed coverage of The Memorial. On the bottom ticker, a red-alert news flash hits the screen.

“Phil Mickelson under FBI investigation for possible insider trading, according to the Wall Street Journal….”

Okay. Wow. Crazy. Hmmm.

I have no problem with The Golf Channel running this “Breaking News” crawl every 5 minutes for the first hour or so. Maybe taper it down to an every 10 minute pop-up in hour two.

But no. The Golf Channel decides: “Let’s just run that crawl NON-STOP, even through some commercials!’

You’ve got to be kidding me. Way to ruin my enjoyment of what was going to be a great Friday night watching golf. You can say “just don’t look at it” but that’s absurd. Your eyes can’t help but get distracted by the moving text, and the bright red “Breaking News” badge.

I understand that all cable channels are whores to the “breaking news” clickbait of low-hanging fruit. Trick the viewer into stopping for just a second, while flipping through the endless sea of channels. Boost that rating point by 1/10th of a percent! By any means necessary!

But what about your customers, Golf Channel? You know, those of us who have already SEEN the Mickelson news about 1,543 times now? Do we matter? Those of us who just wanted to watch… well.. GOLF?

In the end, this story looks like it’ll be a big nothing-burger. What, is Phil Mickelson going to JAIL like Martha Stewart? Unlikely. Stewart doubled her mistake by lying to investigators.

Heck, the story as it existed on Friday night, had lawyers for each of the principals in the alleged insider trading scheme saying they had yet to even hear from the FBI or SEC.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be more to the story. It just would have been nice to watch some golf without an intrusive eyesore – one whose continual loop reminded us viewers that we were being taken utterly for granted by some idiot at the Golf Channel, who thinks he’s covering the opening hours of the Watergate scandal.


  1. Czabe, I, too, get annoyed with the crawl. I understand some people like it, especially during football season, but when my team is playing, I want to watch and be distracted by nothing else. I keep hoping the TV manufacturers will create a “crawl-black-out” feature. It would be that hard–just enable to the TV to make all pixels on the bottom tenth of the screen black (or allow us to adjust to get it exactly right). Do you have any contacts at Samsung?

  2. Put those right there with ESPN’s autoplaying video. When I’m taking a quick break/fucking off from work I don’t need the boss knowing I’m surfing to the four-letter on the company’s bandwidth.

  3. Steve, you’re missing the point. You are not the Golf Channel’s customer. As the famous saying goes, if you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer. The advertisers are — and they want to see that 1/10th point increase in the ratings. I realize that the Gold Channel is on cable, so it’s not quite as true as with broadcast, but the same point rings true.

  4. Czabe if you start up a telethon to curb use of the SCROLL, I will be one of the firsts to donate. I especially hate the Sunday NFL playoff games where they insist on showing me the scores FROM SATURDAY again and again and again and again and again…


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