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November 19, 2003
Entertainment or News

Jack at Random Fate suggests that media bias is money-driven. Maybe.

Once upon a time, the News divisions of the TV networks were semi-autonomous departments that could operate in such a way as to actually try to tell important stories.

These old-style newsrooms consistently lost money. They were considered a "loss leader," I guess you could say. And then one day, some bright boy (no doubt with a newly-minted MBA) figured out that the News ought to be a money-maker.

Actual journalists of the caliber of Chet Huntley, David Brinkley or Walter Cronkite were phased out in favor of the pretty-boys (and girls) who could read copy on-air but who couldn't report their respective ways out of paper bags. It became more important that the on-air staff be "multicultural" than that they be effective reporters.

Is there a single TV station left in the country that doesn't have a female asian reporter? OK, OK, there are some, I know....

Now, of course, in order to rake in even bigger bucks, the News plays to the audience. Stories of real import are often sidelined in favor of whatever will bring in the ratings. The case of Scott & Laci Peterson would seem to be a case in point [though frankly I don't understand what compels people to be so interested in the day-to-day goings-on as to warrant hours of coverage every day. I just don't get it.]

I disagree with Jack, though, in that I think the slant of most news networks and the manner in which the stories are delivered is still mainly driven by left-leaning political bias. The evidence is undeniable... and the remarkable success of the Fox News Channel seems to me to indicate that consumers are choosing their news fare based on both the entertainment value and the perceived slant.

(Hat tip: Donnie of Ain't Done It)

Posted by Russ at 07:07 PM, November 19, 2003 in News

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