Monday, March 1, 2010

Mad Media Exposed

I love the US media. I can't get enough of it. But let me clarify. I don't watch it for its quality or to keep up to date with world events. I watch it because it is entertaining. I consider Fox News and MSNBC in particular to barely even be Media outlets. They are in fact in the entertainment industry. It is all about ratings with these cable giants. All they are interested in is generating controversy in order to improve ratings. Hence the comical personalities and the fake controversies. These businesses work like any other. They have examined the marketplace and identified their target. Then they simply play to that audience. Fox News of course targets the politically right, MSNBC the left. That is my opinion anyway. However I have always found it difficult to articulate my dislike of the American media because as I said in my opening sentence, I love it. So listen to Charlie Brooker instead. The Guardian journalist does a far better job than I ever could at illustrating the bizarre and crass world of cable news. Enjoy this great clip.


GW said...

Ted - Fox's Special Report - the actual evening news show followed up with a panel discussion for the last 20 minutes, is probably the best real news show that there is. I defy you to present a contrary argument on that point. Even if you point to the panel, it always has an articulate representative of the left to present a center-left viewpoint.

To the extent that you are speaking of the shows of the talking heads - Beck, O'Reilly (the definition of pompous windbag), Hannity, and even Red Eye - they are not "news" shows - they are opinion. I am surprised that you seem to conflate the two into "news."

Fox has opinion shows just like MSNBC and CNN have them. The only real difference between the three networks on that score is that the ratings for Fox opinion shows are exponentially greater than for the ratings of MSNBC and CNN combined.

But Special Report, and for that matter, Studio B, (which in fact is hosted by a man, Sheppard Smith, who is left of center and who supports Obama's health care agenda) are hard news. The difference between Fox's hard news shows and the rest of the MSM is that Fox reports on all major issues.

When was the last time you tuned into MSNBC or CNN, and saw a report on, say, Phil Jones or Climategate. Those are real stories on issues of massive importance to the West. They are making the rounds in the UK. Yet over here, the only place you will hear them reported is on Fox.

Fox News reports on things both the left and the right would like to see buried. The difference is, the MSM, along with CNN and MSNBC, have a strong tendency to ignore those things which are distressing or embarrassing for the left.

I read newspapers daily. One of them is the Guardian because its hard news reporting is balanced, and, indeed, in many instances, some of the best out there. Usually, the hard left bent of the opinion pages are kept out of the hard news reporting.

Fox is in many ways a mirror image of the Guardian and for much the same reason. I would be happy to argue this point with you, but first I suggest you take a look at Special Report and Studio B for a few shows and then lets argue it out.

On a final note, while I watch Special Report religiously, I really can't stand the rest. It has nothing to do with their point of view, its just that they are so pompous and over the top I can't take more than ten minutes of watching them.

Hope all is well


Ted Leddy said...

Thanks GW

All well here only that I have not been blogging much lately as studying for my exams is taking up most of my time.

I accept your challenge GW. I will watch a few sessions of Special Report and Studio B and get back to you on it.

I do accept however that I should have clarified that O'Reilly, Beck, Olberman ect, have opinion shows and should not be considered news as such, even though they are part of the apparatus at Fox and MSNBC.

Paul said...

Check out how the BBC reports on climategate (not at all)or Hamas (presents them as a legitimate resistance, or perhaps look at the makeup of a typical question time panel for an example of bias. Oh yes and you get sent to prison if you refuse to fund it.

GW said...

Ted - will look forward to it. So what are you studying, if I may ask?

Paul - I have been arguing that the news division of the BBC needs to be spun off and privatized for years. As I recall, Churchill thought the same. But like a broken clock, the BBC seems to get things right twice a day. Their interview of Phil Jones was exceptional - and indeed, was a very searching interview that asked all of the right questions.

Now I need to shower. Defending criminals and/the BBC always leave me with the feeling of needing a good washing.

Ted Leddy said...


I hear you. Even though I am a big fan of the BBC's John Simpson and Frank Gardner in particular. You have to admire him, back at work, wheelchair bound after being gunned down by Al Quaeda.

Thanks again for your comment. I am studying law with the aim of becomng a solicitor/lawyer. It was a bit of a turn around for me as I only began studying it last year. I went to university 1999 - 2004 where I received a degree in International Relations and a Masters in political science but after a couple of years I found myself without a solid job in that area. I began to crave a profession so I decided on law. I wonder sometime whether I have a legal brain as the exams are by far the most difficult I have ever done, but I will stick at it anyway.

Hope all is well with your good self.