Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Media Bias

S-town Mike has a good post today about the problem with Channel 2 making a big deal out of the fact that some recent protestors came from out of state and he wonders if the media ever asks conservative protestors where they're from. It's only tangentially related to my point, but if you can't use the internet to make spurious, yet interesting, connections, what can you use it for?* So, to my point--media bias. I already watch a shit-ton of news. But being on vacation? I'm up to my elbows in news. And I've been watching with an eye on whether television media is biased towards a liberal or conservative viewpoint. And, I have to say, I've noticed something even more disturbing than blatant political bias--television news is biased towards the stupid. Yesterday, we watched a cat fall out of a tree at least seven times. Today, MSNBC briefly mentioned that the IRS is going to expand the companies to which it sells our tax returns. I thought they were saying that the IRS was going to sell our information to these folks without our permission. The Butcher was under the impression that we could opt out of the program. This would seem to me to be the kind of story that could use a little explanation if two smart people are confused by your fifteen second story. But no, if the news were to do more than just mention it in passing, if it had to take another thirty seconds to clarify, we couldn't spend three minutes talking to the girl who found money in the walls of a house hit by Katrina. On national news. No wonder we're a nation of ill-informed idiots. *Yes, porn. Very funny, smart-asses.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Calvin Exoo argues in the "Politics of Mass Media" that the news media has a vested interest in presenting news in a way which is both most novel and most centrist (pandering to the lowest common denominator by, among other things, excising anything controversial).

So yeah...the news is dumb.

3/22/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger theogeo said...

The thing about TV news is that — regardless of its content's quality — it is dominant, shifting the public's expectation of what news is to the degree that we old print fogeys are like holy shit, we gotta gimmick it up to get some eyeballs back lest we die a painful slow death! and that results in us dumbing down some of our coverage, too (think USA Today's super short stories).

We are told time and time again by the "average" reader that he/she just doesn't have time to sit down and read all the news, or to follow a story when it jumps from one page to another. So we scramble to try and appeal to these average readers who don't even really read newspapers! We can't offer soundbites, per se, but we sure as hell can shrink our stories down until they're practically useless and without context.

And we can print plenty of pet and kid photos. Awwww.


3/22/2006 12:15:00 PM  

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