Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our tabloid media

Internets are especially irritating today, but I did run across this article from The Atlantic that was an interesting read. The author traces the trajectory of television news and how, "Earnest cost centers where scrappy reporters purported to do the Lord’s work gave way to slick operations, seen as sources of profit, whose anchors commanded massive salaries."

He blames it on cable and the corporatization of news programming that led to a focus on profit over information. More interesting is his expose of how the genre of "missing white girl" stories are generated. Also notwithstanding the claims that they don't pay for interviews, well, they do through the back door.
“It’s a very defined underworld of behavior that people really don’t talk about,” said the former booker. “All the networks have policies not to pay.” Indeed, most network news divisions are officially prohibited from paying sources for interviews, but they can get around that problem in any number of ways. In addition to paying a fee to a middleman, rather than to a subject, the network might conduct the interview in a lavish location, with all expenses paid and tickets to Broadway shows or Disney World thrown in. Or the network might pay for the use of a photo or video, with the interview coming along “for free.” Sometimes, a trashier evening tabloid show will license photos and get a coveted interview, and then both are recycled onto a more respectable morning or evening news program on the same network, which can broadcast them freely while leaving its own checkbook unsullied. In each instance, everyone knows what’s happening except the viewers.
The piece profiles one such middleman. Too bad most viewers won't see this, or even care if they do. In fact, it will probably inspire at least a few people to do crazy stuff so they can cash in too. [Via Greg Mitchell.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Most viewers won't see it, most readers won't read it. Really has been washed away in the flood of bullshit.

1:01:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Much as I bitch about the shallowness of the gossip driven media, I'm realizing they really are doing the stories that most people want. Majority of Americans don't really care about politics or hard news. That seems to include the blogosphere.

Twitter has been a big education on that score. You see what drives the convos there and gossip will shut the place down, but they largely ignore the hard news too.

6:13:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home