Monday, February 05, 2007


Creating Smart Consumers of Media

If media is going to be just another crass, commercialized consumable, we need to be able to create smarter consumers of media. I read a letter to the editor recently in which a reader (clearly not a liberal as the reader referred to Turner as a leftist network) was complaining about the bias inherent in placing reporting on the Turner-associated bomb scare and some remarks by Sen. Biden on the third page when that paper would have placed a Fox-associated bomb scare and similar remarks by a Republican Senator on the front page.

I'll grant the guy his hypotheticals. Where he is wrong is ascribing the difference to bias. It's not. How many complaints of media bias are like this one: people just don't seem to get the fundamental principle of how news operates -- when "dog bites man", it's not news, but when "man bites dog", it is news. If a Dem. Senator criticizes a Rep. President, that's simply not as newsworthy as a Republican, a party famous for its discipline, Senator criticizing a Republican president. And if a network, whose so-called news division has been especially keen on our war on terror, were to do something mistaken for a terrorist attack, it would be more newsworthy than for a network that has been (only) somewhat less keen on the war to have done so.

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