Monday, March 30, 2009

The Glen Beck effect

NYT posts a fluffer profile of Glen Beck today that didn't tell me anything I didn't already know except this. "His roots are in comedy — he spent years as a morning radio disc jockey — and continues to perform comedy on stages across the country." I'd suggest his current Fox show is also comedy. It's so pathetic, it's laughable.

David Carr's piece on the media and its obsession with horserace analysis was far more interesting and isn't getting the attention it deserves. This is right on target.
There is no question that the stakes are high in this presidency, and it’s hardly an epiphany that in order to feed the 24/7 beast, cable news has to turn every little thing into a big event. But something else is at work here. Gorged on ratings from a historic election and still riding on leftover adrenaline, the cable networks have steadfastly remained in campaign mode. And the hyperbolic rhythms and requirements of a cable news world have never seemed less relevant to the story at hand. [...]

Some of the viewers seem to have noticed that all of the election coverage is short an actual election. According to Nielsen, CNN, after hitting 3.28 million viewers on average during the week of the actual election, had drifted down below a million by mid-March. Fox News, 3.54 million the week of the election, is still above 2.1 million, while MSNBC, which hit 2.17 million, had 886,000 the week of March 16.
Where the 'liberal' stations are making their mistake, and this is true throughout all the media, is equating traffic with influence. The reason behind the ratings is Fox draws fact resistant viewers who aren't looking so much for news as for validation of their own views. These are largely people who don't want to search out facts that might distrupt the fantasy they are a silent majority just waiting to be heard. Fox offers comfort food to feed that myth. It doesn't matter to them that the infotainment is as intellectually nutritious as cotton candy. It tastes good and it goes down easy.

On the other hand, the 'liberal' stations draw viewers looking for more substantive fare. They demand facts. They want to see false talking points challenged as invalid. They're tired of repetitious he said/she said 'reporting' devoid of any meaningful context. They don't want to be entertained. They want to be informed. If they want gossip, they'll go to Gawker, where they do it better. The first outlet that figures out old-style, substantive, 'boring' policy-based analysis has an audience waiting to buy the product, will make a killing and maybe even save journalism.

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]

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Anonymous Kevin McKague said...

Glen Beck is not well.

Bill Maher calls Glen Beck out in this vid.

4:59:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Great link. I didn't expect to watch it all but I couldn't turn it off. Thanks.

7:40:00 PM  
Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

I don't really see CNN or HNN as "liberal" at all, though they may have one or two people who are not overt Fascists. MSNBC could become a "liberal" net, but they are pulled right by NBC and CNBC. The hours and hours of that Joe guy and all the cops & prison stuff is off-putting, too.

I catch a bit of Olbermann or Maddow once or twice a week. I get most of my news by skimming the blogs and the aggregations on Google News and Yahoo news, paying special attention to the foreign press and those few outlets and individuals in the US that still have some integrity, writing ability and good old fashioned work ethic, the ones out pounding the streets, not sitting and typing along as they watch the world go by on the teevee or the CRT.

Who the f**k CARES what all these overpriced, overstuffed corporate talking heads have to say about anything? When's the last time one of them was even out and about in the real world?

1:57:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Cosa, I'm with you. I don't watch the talking heads anymore and I don't miss them. And I don't think MSNBC or CNN are liberal either, but that's what they're called. Sorry excuse for a progressive POV. I think even Olberman and Maddow have moderated quite a bit since they started.

AFAIC, Jon Stewart and Colbert are the only liberals on the teevee.

9:42:00 AM  

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