Beyond Parody


Fifth Estate # 333, Winter, 1990

Dear Ann Landers:

Right now I am so mad I could spit tacks.

My husband and I are seniors. We love to watch the soaps. We have come to know the characters so well that they are like members of our own family. Our favorite soaps are “Days of Our Lives” and “General Hospital.”

Recently, at the most critical moment, Peter Jennings cut in with a news bulletin. He reported that the Chinese government was executing students (which we already knew), causing us to miss out on the crisis involving Scorpio, Sean and Frisco in “General Hospital.”

They don’t rerun soaps, Ann. If you miss something it’s gone.

The following day, Tom Brokaw broke in with more stale news about China and he ruined “Days of Our Lives.” Neither Peter Jennings nor Tom Brokaw told us anything that could not have waited till the evening news.

Please, Ann, let these two gentlemen know that these interruptions are disruptive and they make viewers angry. I Speak for Millions. (Palo Alto, Calif.)

Dear Pal:

I have had several letters from readers who share your anger. I would like you all to know that the interruptions are not Jennings’ and Brokaw’s idea. They merely work for the networks. Their bosses decide when and if they should break in with a “special report.”

If you don’t want your soaps interrupted by news bulletins, call your local stations and complain.

(Detroit Free Press, Tuesday, August 15, 1989)