Ratings are the fuel that drives the media. We all know that. And as logic would agree, to get the ratings the news media giants have to put out a product that people want to see. We get that too. But unfortunately the American diet for news is one that has been ruined with junk food and processed products that in many ways can hardly be considered news at all. Talk about stuffed and starved all at the same time!
Even when issues are important and relevant to us, we seem to grow very bored with the reporting of them. Brian Williams once made the statement that despite emails from viewers that it was time to move on from the news regarding Katrina he was sticking to the subject until it was properly covered. You don’t see that kind of chutzpah very often and in the ratings world if the viewers are bored, you can be sure they are going elsewhere to get the news.
But news for the sake of news can often be dry. Reporting who, what, where when and why doesn’t seem to be enough to keep our interest. Not that such reporting happens that often. Check out your local news tonight, and you will concur most stories despite their constant promo, often give you less information than you might think to fully understand the events which make this story news worthy, And even when all the facts are given, no offense to Jim Lehrer and the PBS boys, but a half hour of concise news to some is right up there with an hour in the dentist chair without Novocain. Susan Jacoby in Freethinkers tells us that we Americans are getting dumber and dumber and that the simpler we get served our facts, the better we like it.
FNN, ( Fantasy News Network) however is niche market news/advertising, of news at its best. A blend, and I do mean blend, of hired talking heads opinion’s and actual news all swirled together in pretty sweet presentation. No wonder their ratings are thru the roof. By feeding little doses of this and that and then repeating the same thing over and over again they present a picture of a news team that has all the facts. In reality, many times the news is nothing more than reporting of hearsay from their opinion department. And that department is solid conservative, states rights, republican
Unfortunately if it smells likes a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck, we tend to think we have a duck. FNN is not a news network, when all of their news sets out to support the beliefs and political thinking of the owners. Bias reporting is still bias reporting.
A major problem arises however when anyone gets denied access to the news. A recent Obama dash around to all the major news networks regarding his health care initiative failed to make a stop at FNN. One can understand Obama’s hesitancy to make an FNN stop. But like it or not, FNN is viewed as the real news to a lot of people and in America access to news is vital to a free press. Regardless of what the press does with it, ignoring FNN tends to only reinforce their underdog image which in turn increases their ratings even more.
Since our very beginning, the press has had the ability to choose or not choose to back the powers that be. The last eight years are a fine example of what happens when all the press is supportive of an administration. Let’s not make this mistake again Obama Administration. Provide all sources of the media ample information, to report fairly or to corrupt your news. One of the basic tenants of your campaign was governmental transparency. Shrouding the news is a decision none of us can afford to let you make.