Sunday, January 29, 2006

Ted Koppel gives his State of the News Address

And, filling in for Frank Rich this week, he has the reason why TV news has gone bad
With the advent of cable, satellite and broadband technology, today's marketplace has become so overcrowded that network news divisions are increasingly vulnerable to the dictatorship of the demographic. Now, every division of every network is expected to make a profit. And so we have entered the age of boutique journalism. The goal for the traditional broadcast networks now is to identify those segments of the audience considered most desirable by the advertising community and then to cater to them.

Most television news programs are therefore designed to satisfy the perceived appetites of our audiences. That may be not only acceptable but unavoidable in entertainment; in news, however, it is the journalists who should be telling their viewers what is important, not the other way around.

Indeed, in television news these days, the programs are being shaped to attract, most particularly, 18-to-34-year-old viewers. They, in turn, are presumed to be partly brain-dead — though not so insensible as to be unmoved by the blandishments of sponsors.
Personally I think the "partly brain-dead" is an overestimation of their sentience. I do find sympathy with another point he makes, that the current state of the news is less a part of the VRW conspiracy and more a tool grasped the cleverer monkeys.Can anybody deny that Wolf and Sean and The Loofah King are truly great tools?

I post, you decide.


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