Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Media Puzzle: Understanding the North Black Disease

I have long been puzzled why the media (not just cable tv but newspapers and magazines, etc) continually go back to the same well and spend tv time or column-inches on people have failed pretty spectacularly.  In the US, I am mostly referring to the Bush folks like Cheney and Rumsfeld and their ilk.  In Canada, I tend to get most annoyed by Conrad Black.  Then I realize, oh, yeah, he founded the National Post.  So, that explains why they give him attention, but I am not sure why anyone else does.

Sure, I get it, these folks have strong stances.  No, not logically strong, not strong via heaps of evidence but strong in the sense that their stances are largely unpolluted by evidence, facts or other sources of inconvenient truths.  They get eyeballs and clicks because they are dynamic (as in dynamically wrong).  And media folks like this because it presents "a point of view" even if the point of view is wrong/dumb/destructive.

I get what I am saying is that I take umbrage that the "if it bleeds, it leads" strategy is not just about putting on TV pictures of crime and war, but also bad/ugly arguments that would otherwise not really deserve airing.

I am not against anybody's right to speak.  I am much more a free speech guy than most Canadians and more than many Americans (Canada is not as much of a free speech purist place, which has led to arguments with College Spew, who was raised up here), but the right to speak does not equal a right to get big megaphones and have big audiences.  I'd love for a general rule that felons should not get free TV time until they are no longer relevant to be on TV (how is Oliver North still on TV?).  I'd love for the media to develop a different instinct---whenever they have the urge to to find some man who messed things up, find a woman or other under-represented person and have them talk instead. 

But alas, news organizations are far more about entertaining than giving us the news.  I know they live in dire times, but it seems to be that weakening the product is not the best way to proceed.  But what do I know?  My office is one floor above the journalism school, and osmosis probably does not work so good.

All I do know is that when I see one of these professional failures appear on my screen, I change the channel.  When they appear in my twitter feed, I skip past.  When they are in my newspaper, I turn the page.  And when the media folks see this blog, they can just skip over it.

Consider this perhaps a new running gag here, Steve's peeves, where I complain about stuff that is never going to change.  Ok, it is an old running theme.  Never mind.

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