He flipped to CNN and public television. His wife, Anne Gust Brown, couldn't stand it, he said. She walked away.
Brown kept watching, but he was not impressed.
"There's so much noise, so much imagery, so much razzle-dazzle," he said. "I couldn't believe the amount of ads. It's about this, it's about that."
He said, "It was painful just watching that news."
Brown said he turned the TV off after 30 minutes, but it left him wondering how people follow the goings-on of government, not only politicians in Washington but his own administration.
"Is it interesting?" he said. "Or is it just another one of these frizzle frazzles that I saw last night, jumping from Anderson Cooper, you know, beating his chest ... it just all seemed pathetic to me."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference at the Capitol on Jan. 10, 2013. Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee