Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Sexy Media Stories

Bill Clinton has another dust up with a CNN reporter over the racial remarks between the Hillary and Barack Obama campaign.

Clinton: And the final thing I like to say is you're asking me about this. You sat through this whole meeting. Not one single salutary soul asked me about this. And they never do.

Clinton: They're feeding you this because they know this is what you want to cover. This is what you live for, but this hurts the people of South Carolina. Because the people of South Carolina are coming to these meetings and asking questions about what they care about. And what they care about is not going to be in the news coverage tonight because you don't care about it. What you care about is this.

Clinton loses me when he blames the Obama campaign for the racial tension. It takes two to have a food fight. Hillary surrogates used the term "chuck and jive." The Hillary campaign sent out an email accusing Obama of being a Muslim terrorist. Bill Clinton does not convincingly play the victim.

Clinton brings up a valid point of how the press prefers conflict stories over wonkish policy wring. The John Edwards haircut madness was a silly low point of the campaign.

Wayne Garcia sums up the problem.

You see — as you could read about ad infinitum in graduate school if you took, say, media theory last semester, like I did — much of what we in the media do is driven by forces outside of the rational and outside of that which we explain as the mission of journalism: to provide the information people need to make good decisions in a democratic society. Newspapers are businesses in a capitalistic society, and therefore they need to make a profit. That profit motives colors what we do, but more importantly, colors how we do it. We don’t have enough money to hire either the best thinkers and writers, and we don’t have enough money to hire enough people to truly write informed stories. Those who stand up against Wall Street or other owners who demand 25 percent margins in journalism get shitcanned.

Los Angeles Times editor Jim O'Shea was fired for not backing budget cuts. The horrible tbt* with gavel to gavel Britney Spears coverage is now the media economic model. Magazines such as The American Prospect has been financially strapped since it's inception.

Voters will be less informed if the media is more focused on infotainment. Media conglomeration has led to The Tampa Tribune layoffs. O'Shea stressed that journalist and not accountants should run newspaper. At the rate newspapers are losing money, it is worth a try.



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