The news gap

The news gap

: Following up on the cable-news discussion in the Maher post below… Broadcasting & Cable analyzes some Tyndall Report data to find a huge gulf between the kinds of stories on cable news and those on network news shows. This stands to reason — one crams the world today into 18 minutes, the other fills 24 hours — but it’s striking nonetheless.

TV news has developed a split personality

  • There’s a very convenient antidote to endless interviews with ‘stars’ of shows that the particular network is about to air – which are the main part of morning shows these days. C-Span has continuing in-depth interviews with figures in actual events – experts on the middle east, arms appropriations, etc. – and reviews of items of moment in the news, as well as calls and emails from viewers, sometimes bizarre and sometimes from people of note.
    This involves use of what Jeff has described as the Handy-Dandy Indecency smasher, the remote.

  • tb

    What is real and what is important are philosophical questions that probably have no tidy answer. I caught a story on Ape researchers that discovered that Apes (maybe it was chimps, but I don’t recall) would ‘pay’ to see pictures of other Apes, but the pictures they paid for were the other powerful (celebrity) apes, not the non-descript apes. Also it was discovered that the Apes would ‘pay’ to see pictures of female apes genitalia.
    So what is real ‘news’ may actually be different than what people want to see or hear. I notice that news is slanted more and more to stories we ‘want’ to hear ie. celebrity news like Michael Jackson, Martha Stewart (powerful apes). Or politically news like ‘spreading freedom’ in Iraq. We extrapolate from a successful election with very large and under reported level of military influence in getting out the vote, that freedom is on the March. We of course want to be satisfied that in our particular case invading a country with all the horrors that goes with it is certainly outweighed by the establishment of a simple vote. What we want to hear and see can’t in our minds be abbrogated by the facts on the ground. The lessons of history can’t get in the way of the message. The message that becomes aired is certainly political propoganda and media propoganda. Maybe propoganda carries too much baggage, but its selling a message that is tainted by what the buyer wants. Even Blogs aren’t immune, they put out messages that produce traffic. If no traffic, no relevancy and you die. That may in some sense explain the popularity of polarizing political blogging. You don’t generate much loyalty from thoughtful discourse, ie ‘proffessor pondscum’.