Saturday, November 27, 2004

Another shot at Dan

ScrappleFace has this on CBS' credibility... Ukraine Journalists Drop Bias, CBS to Study Idea.

Pundits on both sides of the fence consistenly cry foul over either the "liberal big-media agenda" or the "right-wing media takeover." Let's set the record straight on this one, huh?

I think we can all basically agree that the worst way to describe broadcast journalism is as "fair and balanced." And why is this? It's not because the media is trying to shape and mold public opinion, it's because they want the public to watch commercials. That's all it boils down to. Networks schedule their programming in such a way as to get the biggest market share, which means they can charge their advertisers more.

Why do you suppose all the major networks have those insanely flashy three-dimensional segue graphics between every segment, or every cut to or from commercial? It's to grab your attention. I'd go so far as to say that these graphics are more important than whatever the anchors are jabbering about at a given time.

For instance, on a certain network, back when the war in Iraq was just getting going, every cut to or from commercial had this ridiculous CGI sequence where a fighter jet swooped around the screen, transforming into a screeching bald eagle as it swept out of the frame. I don't care what you think of Fox News, that was stupid. It went right along with all the American flags they have integrated into the on-screen infographics. "Hey, we're patriotic! Watch us! Oh, and by the way, we are Fair and Balanced."

Look, I think it's my job as the viewer to decide whether someone's fair and/or balanced. Having that as your slogan is like when they write on the side of the orange juice carton that it "tastes great!" Oh, yeah? I'll figure that out for myself, thanks.

Even though that's tangential, it highlights the point I'm trying to make, which is only that networks like CBS and Fox don't have honesty and credibility high on their corporate goals list, even if it's on there somewhere. Priority number one is the bottom line.