Monday, October 8, 2007

The Commercial Media

Reading over at Booman Tribune , there's a good piece debating the media as "liberal" or "conservative", but I see the problem somewhat differently. What bothers me most about the media is it's commercialism. TV news shows are driven by the desire to sell commercial air time, not by reporting news. It's all about how many eyeballs will be watching the 60 second spot for whatever the corporations want to sell us. "Ratings" only matter in that they reflect the value of the commercial minutes, so the "news" shows strive to report in ways that keep people entertained. I rarely watch TV because the corporate marketing really annoys me, but also because TV news is by it's very nature restricted to shallow sound bites.
Print media does somewhat better as far as depth of reporting. While still driven by advertising, the target audience is more demanding. Readers are by nature more attentive than viewers, and tend to be seeking more substance than style.
While I agree that our media tends to be more "conservative", I see this as a result of the corporations running the news outlets. To understand the bias, look at what they're trying to sell. This will tell you who the audience they're targeting is. And it sure as hell isn't the bloggers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post. You've just given me the jumping off point for something I've been wanting to write about, but couldn't get started.

You are right on about the difference between readers (actively engaged) and viewers (passive).