Here’s one reason why TV newscasts are so depressing

untitled (21)


It pains me to admit this, but I’m beginning to sympathize with people who say they don’t watch the news on TV, mainly because it’s too depressing. But it’s the commercials, not the news, that are most disturbing to me.

As a senior citizen, I’m more likely than younger people to watch the nightly early-evening newscasts on ABC, CBS or NBC. That’s the way it is in the TV news business. We older folks comprise a pretty big share of the viewing audience for the regularly-scheduled suppertime news shows on the major networks. Accordingly, many of the advertisers on these programs are peddling products targeted to the geezer crowd.

And therein lies the problem.

A large percentage of the advertisers on these news shows are hawking pills and elixers and other stuff intended to make people in general — and old folks in particular — somehow feel better. For me, the effect is quite the opposite.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that these medicines don’t work. Frankly, I don’t know if they’re effective or not. I don’t use them.  The potential side effects, which the manufacturers reliably mention in their commercials, have scared me off.

If you watch and listen closely to these commercials, you’ll notice that they usually mention various potential negative effects, none of which sounds like a lot of fun. Even the dreaded D-word — death — is often on the list. I’ve actually seen commercials that spend more time talking about the bad things that can happen when you take the advertised medicine than about the supposedly positive results.

I suppose that the drug companies are only trying to cover their butts with these ad spots that mention the potential downsides to using their products. Their lawyers perhaps have told them that lawsuits can be more easily overcome if the company can point to TV spots that mention possible side effects.

In the end, however, the situation is not a good one: Older people pay more attention to the news, which makes them more likely to be scared half to death by the warnings of ill effects of the drugs touted in commercials specifically targeted to us senior citizens.