Why Rather left
: Punditguy quotes at length from Tim Rutten’s view of why Dan Rather is leaving the air and it’s a good thing he is because you can’t get to the LATimes Calendar without subscribing.
It’s just become such knee-jerk conventional wisdom BS about the dying network newscast and Dan Rather’s struggles in 3rd place. The point always is lost that even if Rather’s “only” drawing 7-plus million viewers, that’s still more than three times as large as the biggest cable news audience, O’Reilly’s.
The influence of cable news and the so-called “blogosphere” is given ridiculously more weight than it deserves. Part of it is the degree to which “the media” loves navel-gazing, so some hack like Wonkette sitting in her house can pop up out of nowhere and gain credibility overnight thanks to other hacks like Howard Kurtz.
(Reply To Murrow)
Wonkette has credibility? I think even she would take issue with that. Like Jon Stewart, she has never positioned herself as a bastion of unbiased reporting; she’s a wiseass, and a damn good one at that. As for ratings not being all that important in the network news business: you obviously don’t get the relationship between ratings and ad revenue.
I agree with Rutten. I also hate the fact that the LATimes Calendar is subscription only. Is what they offer in the way of web content so much more compelling that information readers can access through free alternatives? I think not (Rutten’s piece excepted).
To answer your response, which missed my points and “obviously” and needlessly resorted to condescension, I found this today in Frank Rich’s essay in Sunday’s NYT: “That both Mr. Brokaw and Dan Rather are going into retirement in the aftermath of the election is a coincidence of timing but widely seen as a fateful one. It’s been a cue to roll out once more the funeral rites for network news. We know the litany. The evening newscasts’ ratings have been sinking for years, their budgets slashed, their audience forever slipping into the pharmaceutical demographic. … But the perennial demise of network news has been the slowest final curtain in the history of show business, and is likely to continue indefinitely. All three network newscasts, not to mention the morning-news franchises led by “Today,” draw exponentially more viewers than even Fox News’s top-rated hits and make tons of money. Though more and more Americans use the Web as a news source, even there they often turn to the sites run by TV news.”
And my point about Wonkette and credibility was not about her per se, but about how someone can pop up with a blog and be accorded a stature they have not earned, while Dan Rather, who has busted his ass for 40+ years, is derided.
By the way, I get the relationship between ratings and ad revenue: While the “CBS Evening News” gets a ton of pharmaceutical giants’ ads, O’Reilly’s ads are for bogus herbal erection treatments and diet pills.
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