My view of the media  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I originally wrote this as a response to a friend's note, but I thought it was noteworthy in and of itself. So, I'm reposting it.

I clicked on Lawrence’s link and read the article. What the researches found was that there is an ideological divide between two of the three networks: Fox and MSNBC. CNN being the other one, was seen as in the middle. Now in terms of negative treatment of the candidates, I would agree that the last month or two there has been more negative treatment towards McCain than Obama in the media. But the reason for that is not bias- it’s sensationalism. Obama’s campaign has been streamlined and controlled. They stayed on message, on point, there were limited gaffes. McCain and Palin was treated different not necessarily because they were Republican but because they gave the media fodder. When one day, you wake up and the Republican nominee is using the tag line of his opponent, that’s going to gather some interest. Calling someone a socialist when they obviously don’t know what a socialist is. Racial undertones at rallies, negativity. Need I go on? The media, excluding MSNBC and Fox, is looking for the next big whatever to feed its rating. On the other hand, MSNBC and Fox have a strategy, a set narrative, of which to follow.

BTW, just because Fox is ahead in the ratings, that does not mean that people watch them because they are the most fair and balanced. More people buy Tide over Gain- does that mean that Tide freshens your cloths better? Not necessarily. In a pure sense, it basically boils down to advertising.

You know, everybody rings their hands of Fox news: “Fair and Balance? Why, that’s snide”. Yeah okay, they’re not fair and balanced. But you know what CNN use to have a slogan “You can depend on CNN”. Guess what? I watch it. No you can’t. So what’s the difference?

If you watch the news networks, and I believe that this is the judge, which news program would have covered the Iraq War differently if it a Democratic president was in office? I believe only one would have and that is Fox. Therefore, that is an activist stance.
As for the others, the bias of the media is not liberal; it is lazy. And it’s sensationalist. But not liberal. There is no active strategy, which is employed on Fox, which is advocating for conservative and right causes. But they are part of an overall thirty year strategy of putting together a way to reconsolidate power.

BTW, well within their rights. I do not have a problem with that because I don’t consider them news. I consider them an active, political arm. Moreover, when they say that they are “Fair and Balanced”, do I believe that is false advertising? Absolutely. However, when did we start worrying about that? If the presidential election commercials are not held to that standard, then why should news organizations? We have lost accountability. And just because they are, why whine about it? Why not create a television organization that is not liberal, but credible. Why not create something that has the same passion that Roger Ailes brings to his cause. And, I admire what they’ve done because they have shown the way to a new media paradigm; that this type of programming can be successful and profitable. I do not think the answer to it is to set up Al Gore’s network and fight it with liberal strategy. A: because liberals are shitty and will not be able to accomplish it. Liberals feel shame. Shame does not work.

So back to the coverage of the election: It is not about how things were covered during the election, it is about what should be done differently on a 24-hour basis. Fox did not come out of the gate and earn its conservative street-cred. Of course, Roger Ailes being at the head of it helps. But they earned it over time by presenting a narrative.

However, I do not think that narrative is helping, just like I do not think MSNBC’s narrative is helping. I think it helps make them popular but it does not help the country. I think there is a responsibility in the media to help. But someone can create a paradigm of a media organization that is geared towards no bullshit and do it actively. And stop pretending that we don’t know what is going on. And stop pretending that it is a right-left question. I don’t buy that the world is divided into bi-chromatic thought like that.

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