We like to think our interest in politics, public health, and other current events is part of our civic duty to stay informed, so we can make decisions at the ballot box that conform with the pertinent facts. We are making a prudent decision, we think.
So we watch the “news”. We like to think that the producers of broadcast, cable cast and web cast journalism deliver content that meets our expectations and demands for accurate and factual reporting.
Think again. Electronic journalism, like print journalism, is a business. The producers sell advertising time (commercials) in order to pay the bills and, hopefully, turn a profit, just as every other vendor you employ, seeks to accomplish.
News is basically show business. Your eyeballs on your TV are what determine what your network can charge their advertisers to show the advertisers’ commercials, whether it’s Coca-Cola or My Pillow products.
If Bozo The Clown read the news and pulled in viewers, we’d be watching Bozo every night at 8:00 PM. That’s it. Any talk about allegiance to the truth or presenting the facts is just hyperbole.
These are the ground rules we don’t like to think about. This is not to say that any particular journalist of whatever perspective lacks integrity. We should be able to discern a perspective or a bias in any news presentation.
But the point is that whomever we’re watching or reading is there to sell air time or column inches of print media advertising space.
It sucks that these are the facts of journalism life. If Clark Kent wasn’t bringing readers to The Daily Planet, Superman would have had to find a new cover.
End of rant.