Sunday, March 11, 2007

Our News Sucks

I was thrilled to hear about the Nevada Democratic Party pulling out of the Democratic Presidential Caucus Debate being sponsored by Fox News. It is a fantastic example of how the progressive netroots community can come together to affect change. Special recognition goes to Matt Stoller, Robert Greenwald, and the savvy folks at MoveOn for their hard work. Thanks for not letting Fox News use our Party to legitimize themselves as a credible news source, while being a conservative propoganda machine the other 364 days each year.

That brings me to a conversation I had the other night, when I realized why our news sucks. It is all about money. Well, money and something else that I will address in a moment. The reason the news networks gave about a billion hours of coverage to Anna Nicole Smith's death and subsequent shenanigans is because America would watch it. That gives then more viewers, which translates into higher advertising revenue. News organizations are, indeed, businesses and they will act as such.

So, my initial thought was to advocate a state owned television station so that we could have a news organization free from the constraints of operating under the pressure of generating advertising revenue. Then I remembered that we already have one, or something like it.

In America, we have the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports stations and programming around the country. They also provide support to NPR, which is a very respected source of news.

For some reason, an overwhelming majority of Americans choose one of the major news networks to get their news. Then we end up getting lots of crap to sift through before we can figure out what the heck is going on in our country and in the world that matters to us. It is bad enough that we have editors and producers deciding for us what we should know. It gets worse when you end up with organizations like Fox News who choose their content with political motives as well.

Contrary to what I initially thought, we don't need a new state owned national television station. We need an American public that is more engaged in the goings on of our nation and the world and seek information in credible places. That, however, is a tall order and unfortunately, not one we can expect without changing many things about how our society operates. Until then, we will know all about Anna Nicole Smith's post-mortem controversies and not a heck of a lot about climate threat and other important issues.


camille said...

Hello there Sir!

I am Camille Travilla from the University of the Philippines. I am a Mass Communication student and I am personally struck with this specific post here.

I also share your sentiments. As a student of media, I don't like how the news are running here lately.

You see, our media here in the Philippines are more or less alike with what you have now. Everytime there would be news (especially if it's about celebrities), they air it so many times! Lately, the hottest issues here are the running of television stars in the coming elections. Almost every cue in the news there would be a news about them.

I observed, indeed, that when the station sees that a numerous audience favor a certain program, there would be a lot of advertisements, especially when a certain primetime program is about to end.

At a certain degree Sir, I beg to disagree with the concept of having a state-owned station. Here in the Philippines, the media act as the "Fourth Estate" and performs a watchdog function over the governement. If there would be a state-owned station, there is a great possibility of creating a bias news. It's not far to think of because even at the local scene, it exists!

I think I should stop because I'm starting to ge carried away. Haha.

Anyway, I commend you for an interesting post here. I haven't read yet many of your blog posts but I guess this would be the start of my constant visit here. I hope to read more of your thoughts. They're enlightening! Really.

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