Of The News, Knees and Judge Judy

By Larry Teren

The Harris Organization conducted a poll in August that confirmed the growing trend of people abandoning the newspaper for the Internet. 2,307 adults were surveyed and the results showed that of those questioned

10% cite the newspaper as their preferred method for receiving the news

36% mostly use the Internet as their primary source for news while

50% watch television.

I rarely watch television for the news. For one thing, it is stale by the time it is broadcast in either the early evening or 10pm. For another, it is subjective to the extent that we are force-fed what the networks want us to know wrapped up in a thirty minute package. On the Internet, one can choose the news source as they wish as well as select among content. If I’m going to watch television, it better be entertaining.

There was a time that we baby boomers would know with certainty who was dishing us the news on television. There was the grandfatherly Walter Cronkite on CBS, the brotherly Chet Huntley and David Brinkley on NBC and either Frank Reynolds or Howard K. Smith on ABC. It seemed as if none had any axe to grind and read the news straight and with authority. It wasn’t until years later that Walter Cronkite revealed that he had sharpened his axe. He professed to be a liberal and tried to convey the news during his broadcast years to make conservatives come across as repugnant.

It was a “say it ain’t so, Joe” moment to me- one that I will never forget. Now, I am suspicious that all news anchors have an ulterior motives. This is one good reason that I have eschewed following the news on television.

I don’t play favorites when it comes to disdain. I cannot stand any of the so-called courtroom reality shows that plague television today. There was a time when one- the grandaddy of them all- The People’s Court stood out for a modicum of integrity. Part of that had to do with the fact that Judge Joseph Wopner presided in a dignified manner trying to show as much respect to litigants as he would expect from them and to each other.

judgejudyUnfortunately, I am dismayed to say that a recent study has shown that the most popular syndicated show on the air is Judge Judy, especially for my fellow baby boomers. Gag me with a spoon.

Another interesting fact about baby boomers and television- 48% own DVRs. I guess that makes me among the other 52% nor do I even know what a DVR is or does. I do have a dvd player but I haven’t used it in about three years. Until the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series, there is no reason to record anything.

Now comes the knee slapper, or should I say, knee fixer. Medicare has allowed and paid for a 161 percent increase in the number of knee replacement surgeries over the past twenty years, according to the Journal of The American Medical Association. During this 20 year period, 3.2 million Medicare recipients had total knee arthroplasty (TKA) surgery.

Knee joints wear out over time and use. The more active you are the more chances are that one or both knees will develop problems. Being obese also takes a toll on knee joints.

Surgery costs anywere from; $11,000 to $45,000 per knee. The JAMA study notes TKA is the most common and costly surgey being performed.

Currently, attending physicians make the determination as to if and when a person requires a knee replacement based on the current standards of care. How will this effect the bumper crop of baby boomers if Medicare can no longer afford to be so gracious? Will there be a bumper crop of hospitals and patients fighting over delenquent bills in Judge Judy’s courtroom?

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