Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ratings Driven Media

I have a new favourite American politician. Newly elected Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee (pictured), an independent politician, has forbidden any of his staff from conducting interviews on talk radio. He also intends to ban state employees from participating in debates on the various shows. His reasons are that he believes talk show radio is, "ratings-driven, for-profit programming," and "we don't think it is appropriate to use taxpayer resources" in the form of state employee work time to "support for-profit, ratings-driven programming." Yes, I have been saying this about the media for years. He goes on to say that he will "continue to talk to the news reporters for the local radio stations, and the nonprofit local NPR affiliate". he claims that talk show radio, like that held by Rush Limbaugh are ratings driven, I would go one step forward and say the same about Fox News and MSNBC.

7 comments:

Gary said...

Ted,

It is true these venues are rating driven, as is CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC and every other main stream TV and radio news source. The only "non-profit" out there is NPR which is notoriously left oriented.

Where then, given the reality of the situation, would you suggest we get our news?

Please do not misunderstand me here, I understand the point about these sources being so driven to get good ratings that their reporting made "suffer" - and I agree. I also agree with your point about the media being a main cause of aggravating situations purposefully in an effort to get better ratings. That is an issue I think needs serious debate and addressing.

However, effectively boycotting these media outlets and confining your ability to get your points out to just one source (NPR) sounds a bit like cutting your nose off to spite your face. The Governor may quickly find that those opposing his efforts may get more public support in a shorter time. Not fair, but reality.

Gary

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

In truth I know you are correct. It is more wishful thinking on my part than anything else. It is however something I feel passionate about. I just don't thin Americans get the debate they deserve from their media. The lack of civility we here so much about today is entirely media generated. For example, I never found either Bush or Obama to be hateful or even ideologically pushy people. All the intense hatred of both figures came from pundits in the media. As you said "the media is a main cause of aggravating situations purposefully in an effort to get better ratings". I know you can't stop the corporate media. America is a free country and billionaire entrepreneurs are entitled to build up media empires. It just gave me some satisfaction to see a prominent political figure call them out.

Gary said...

Ted,

I could not agree with you more. I watch news on several stations here including FOX, CNN and MSNBC. I got to the point where I could not watch many of the "opinion" shows for this very reason. Even though we can understand why the ratings play such an important role, this problem is getting worse -to the point where it is almost impossible for any politician to say anything without it being taken out of context and used against them.

Democracy requires civil, if heated, debate to function properly. This constant pushing for ratings by keeping controversy boiling has to stop. Somehow it must be addressed. Our last Congress is an example of how things can go bad when one party is totally dominate. The Congress before that is an example of how failure to compromise can result in grid lock and nothing getting accomplished except in a crisis....

This Congress has started very well with some good negotiating and compromise - I am hoping this will continue. I also hope the voices calling for civility will keep getting louder and be heard.

Gary

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Well said. I too cringe while watching the likes of Olberman and Beck. Hopefully things will cool down over the next year. But there is no doubt, the race for 2012 will be a massive and very passionate battle.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Fox, MSNBC - feh.
CNN - OK
NPR is my go to source. Their "liberal" label is overdone; they actually talk to and about everyone.
And I like the Sunday morning news talk because the people actually TALK - no rude interruptions or raised voices.
Jenny

Ted Leddy said...

Hi Jenny

I know very little about NPR. I must check it out. I too enjoy the Sunday morning shows. They are a bit more civilised.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Most news sources over here are poor unfortunately. NPR is quite good. The right dismisses Democracy Now too quickly. It's one of the most informative and interesting sources. And of course, it's non profit. Check it out for yourselves. They provide a great service but also could do with a bit more balance. They're certainly left leaning but I don't think they're unfair.

Dave

Dave