Why I Love the News Crawl

If you have to compare, being a quadriplegic is not quite as bad in the summer as it is in the winter, since wheelchairs aren't made for snow and you're really stuck. So it was during the winter of 2001 that I began to realize I had become a huge fan of the TV news "crawl," that unending stream of "news" that you can't get anywhere else. Like: The governor of Pennsylvania has been clocked speeding at over 100 m.p.h. nine times in six months.

I find that CNN's crawl is the most informative and also the most entertaining, because the loop is longer than the crawls on Fox and MSNBC and thus carries more stories before it restarts. While it takes a good 20 minutes to watch the entire loop of the crawl on CNN, it seems to take considerably less time on Fox and MSNBC; those news organizations seem to prefer less context.

When we think about the crawl, it appears to be a very little thing in life. But it's filled with perfect items to bring up in conversations with strangers, often providing the necessary humor to break the ice while letting people know that you are an individual with educated tastes about TV.

My mind yearns for both the sludge of reality shows and the up-to-the-moment information on important topics, such as politics, the economy and lost cats finding their way from New York to California. The crawl is the only media source that gives me all of this. And where else can you get news of a man who fell and suffered the pain of six 3-inch nails going into his head? Where else would you get updates on his condition?

On one of my rare excursions into New York City, my fiancée and I dined in Times Square. To the right, there was the stock-market crawl; straight ahead, a news crawl. Another time, waiting to be allowed into the MTV Music Awards, we could have been bored out of our minds, but right across the street was the CNN crawl to save us.

And while I write this, I have been updated on the war with Iraq and about a toilet seat with a mechanical voice that scolds men for using it while standing up. In Germany, it has already sold 1.6 million units.