That said, this is no doubt a happy time for television station managers, who root-root-root for the contests. It’s also a less-than-pleasant time for viewers, who endure the ad barrage with little context or vetting.

Regardless of a person’s position on the ownership of public airwaves or the obligation of stations, there would seem to be little debate broadcast journalism can and should do better.

Much better.

If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of 10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Ken Knelly served as metro editor at The Times-Tribune in Scranton and as senior editor for government and business at The State in Columbia, S.C. He owns Clearberries, a communications consulting and training firm, and works for a Christian college in Northeastern Pennsylvania.