Comment 42725

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted July 02, 2010 at 09:21:23

Sadly, I think imagining some Chomskyesque shadowy conspiracy to control the media to keep the populace ignorant of politics is failing Hanlon's razor (never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity).

By and large, the people want pap. I mean yes, everybody says they'd like a civics lesson on the news, but when it really comes down to it, a 24-hour round-the-clock coverage of the latest celebrity death captures more eyeballs than high-minded news-coverage.

It's the same thing you see everywhere else in business and politics - there are unwritten rules of politeness. Things you just don't do... but then one day somebody realizes "hey, nobody will actually punish me or hold me accountable for breaking the unwritten rule". And then the game theory sets in - the players that don't play by the actual, written rules get pushed out because they have extra encumberances.

For Mulroney, it was stacking the Senate. For the Republicans in the USA, it's the filibuster and appointment-approval process.

For the news world, this hidden encumbrance was standards. It was an obligation to the truth, and to covering important events. It is not illegal print falsehoods in the news, as long as it's not defamation of character. There is no real reason they should cover strife in the 3rd world instead of celebrity shenanigans - all that matters is what grabs more eyeballs.

Remember, in any free-to-consume media, the viewer is not the customer. The customers are the advertisers - they pay for the creation of programming, so they can get their message out to viewers.

We, the viewer, are not the customer. We are the product. They sell our eyeballs to the advertisers. Then it becomes a matter of tracking who makes the most buying decisions, who is the most influenced by advertisement, who has the strongest "marketing footprint"? That's who the media will pander to.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2010-07-02 08:22:42

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