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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why TV News is no longer the news

News is no longer news. The cable news network MSNBC has chosen civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton to host its 6 p.m. hour. Members of the National Association of Black Journalists have questioned the hiring, saying journalists of color should have the opportunity to host prime-time cable news shows. In any case, MSNBC's moves follows similar decisions by CNN (with Eliot Spitzer) and Fox News (with Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin), which have recently turned to public figures -- not journalists -- to helm their high-profile programming. FOX News was the first to program for ratings instead of new content, created deliberately to bring to TV the financial success of AM Conservative Talk Radio. While you can scream about the damage to journalist, ratings are up on all of those shows. Sharpton, for example, was up 13% as he guest hosts. Cable news executives, who are mostly from a sales or entertainment background, want bombastic opinions, firing up the audience and keeping the quarter hours. Journalist do not do that, at least not as large and obvious as the new "anchor/hosts". Journalist are trained to be as balanced as possible, to report facts and when possible, to take the time to gather information accurately. Talking head celebrities are not trained in journalism, coming from politics, religion or social activism where sermons, opinion and advocacy are rewarded and a part of their very being. And the same audience that complains about the "decline in journalism" flock to the talking head, shouting opinionated celebrity hosts.

Posted 9/5/2011


Michael Dubia said...

I'm pretty sure everybody watches T.V. because they want to be entertained, not just because they want to watch the new, and the news stations know that. What better way to get you on their channel than to put some familiar faces on the screen and report on stories that may even be real news. If you want real news, you have to read.

Anonymous said...

but 95% of America gets its news from TV...if you include all TV "sources" including Comedy Central and FOX.

Aleksandra D. COM101-6003 said...

Not enough raw facts because facts do not bring in the audiences and the advertising $$$ the follow.