Friday, February 6, 2009

HuffPo's Diane Francis Wrong on Media

Diane Francis wrote this today on the HuffPo:

"Frankly, specialty channels, reality TV and the blogosphere are very entertaining but they are hardly bastions of our freedoms, values or of facts that have been well-tested and curated by professional content-providers in editors' and producers' chairs."

I'll give Ms. Francis that, yes, there are blogs/podcasts etc that are not "bastions of freedom" - however, these giant companies or "professional content providers" are not much better, if not worse. Yesterday I watched Wolf Blitzer lead a 10 minute panel discussion on the Situation Room about Air Force One and how awesome it is. That's it. No new interesting facts, or some profile of the pilot or who gets to work on it, just Jeffrey Toobin saying "When you see Air Force One in a foreign country there is a sense of pride that goes along with it." No shit Jeffrey! It's a giant friggin plane with America plastered all over it! The only way I'd feel more pride is if it was being taxied out to the runway by a fleet of hummer limos stuffed with Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

But it goes beyond that isolated incident. I've watched the cable news these past few weeks and heard quite a bit about the stimulus bill and whether it should be called the recovery bill and who Obama invited over for cocktails and it's full of spending but not enough tax cuts and it's too expensive.

You know what's been conspicuously absent from all this mind numbingly stupid chatter? WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN THE FRIGGIN BILL! I don't know whether to support the thing or hate it because the "professional content providers" are REFUSING TO PROVIDE ANY ACTUAL INFORMATION ABOUT IT! Isn't that their job? You know, to inform the public? I have seen a breakdown of how many McDonald's Apple Pies I could buy with $825 billion, but I NO IDEA what tax cuts, programs or incentives that $825 billion consists of.

While I do agree with Ms. Francis that the media business model needs to change, there is something else that needs to change first - its job description. If "professional content providers" don't want to give the public anything of substance, that is fine, there is another great American industry waiting for them called Entertainment.

1 comment:

Eclectic Radical said...

Ms. Francis was not defending the cable industry, rather she was advocating government support for newspapers as they are replaced by the forms of inferior media to which she objected and you made reference and as the historically 'responsible' ownership of newspapers gave way to the same corporate and questionable interests that have come to dominate television and cable media.

Sadly, this is less a sea change than it is a reversion to the past. Newspapers began as mouthpieces for political parties and they will likely become so again.