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Being sick for two days during a slow news stretch (in the current context of constantly crazy news), during which CNN harped obsessively on the refusal of the Trump administration to apologize for the crass and unfeeling comment of a staffer about John McCain's impending death, really cemented my opinion that the news channels have replaced soap operas as daytime viewing addictions.

Like soap operas, the news on the all-news channels (Fox, CNN and MSNBC being the main ones -- of those, I watch CNN) is fun if you dip into it occasionally, but repetitive and oppressive if you watch for long stretches or every day. Big things are in the works, but they move forward in tiny daily increments that are gone over in detail, then rehashed, then commented on and argued over. On slow news days, instead of looking elsewhere in this big country and big world for something else to report on, they simply start the cycle over with the same story. 

If you were to tune into CNN after not watching for a month, you could pick up each story line right where you left off, just as with soap operas. Diane is still trying to figure out who the father of her baby is. Everyone is still trying to figure out what Don Jr. told his father about his meeting with the Russian mystery lady.

A few times a season, big things do happen, which is how they keep you hooked. Diane finds out Dirk, not Stephen, is the father's baby (no, the baby's father). Paul Manafort gets indicted. But meantime, you've given away hundreds of hours of your attention to their speculation and fighting over unknowns. After watching snippets of a few soap operas decades ago, I decided the time invested wasn't worth the payoff, however astonishing. I'm coming to the same conclusion with cable TV news.

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Will Doolittle is projects editor at The Post-Star. He may be reached at will@poststar.com and followed on his blog, I think not, and on Twitter at

@trafficstatic.

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