Sunday, January 22, 2012

Media: The uninformed boosting ad revenues

On ABC's Revenge, the best hour long drama introduced in 2011, Emily (Emily VanCamp) is out to even the score because some people refuse to learn. When she's done with the people who wronged her father, we hope she makes a sweep of the media because there's so much work to be done there.

And they just refuse to learn.

Which is how a broad range of outlets 'predicted' at 7:00 pm Central on Saturday that Newt Gingrich had won the South Carolina Republican primary -- everyone from POLITICO to NPR.



With less than 32% of precincts reporting, with the polls having just closed . . . unless you were already in line before 7:00 pm, in which case you were still waiting to vote, news outlets guessed Newt was the winner. It was a guess. They ended up guessing right. That can happen with guessing. But don't mistake it for reporting or for responsible journalism.

That they'd guess on Saturday was especially appalling.


Saturday, after all, was the day that a winner was declared for Iowa: Rick Santorum.

You'd think that would create a little bit of a caution (if not humility), just a fraction possibly, but you'd be wrong.

You'd be wrong if you thought NPR managed to book women in equal number to men for their live coverage of the South Carolina primary. No, it was as bad as the New Hampshire coverage, just a tiny bit better than their Iowa coverage.

At least they could boast of being a tiny bit better than their Iowa coverage in one regard. In every other regard, they failed.

They failed with information, they failed with factoids.

On factoids, did you know that under Newt Gingrich's leadership, hate crimes rose significantly?It's a fact. While he was Minority Leader in the House, the number of reported hate crimes rose. Check with the Justice Department, we're not making this up.

And if his laughable claim that, in the 80s, he created jobs -- as a member of the House of Representatives -- not a Minority Leader, not even Speaker of the House -- he created 16 million jobs, is being repeated on air on NPR by NPR staff and not questioned, then let's start noting all the 'accomplishments.' Want to know the increase on reported rapes under Newt's 'leadership'? We can do this all day. But then we don't spend the bulk of our hours trying to work out an on air 'funny' in advance. Failure included research and use of time by the anchors.

The failure also included the selected music which sounded like "Hail To The Chief" -- only more pompous -- music that came in while people were still speaking or that wasn't there when people stopped speaking creating, at one point, 40 seconds of radio silence.

With Audie Cornish and Guy Raz anchoring, listeners certainly had a right to expect more.

Instead, they got less. Less prepared anchors, less prepared guests. Mainly, they got less journalism. Unless NPR considers an NPR reporter declaring of Mitt Romney's second place win ("a really bad night for Romney"), "Romney lost [laughing] so many --" The reporter never finished his sentence, so entertained with the thought of Romney 'losing.'

Shortly after that low -- possibly due to it, Audie would declare, "I know we're all talking about how it's such a drubbing, but is it that unexpected?" E.J. Dionne would rush to assure everyone that it was. Dionne's an idiot and a radio embarrassment. If you're just going to work from party talking points -- regardless of which party you're with -- NPR shouldn't put you on air. We can all read talking points if we want to. We certainly didn't need Dionne or Bill Burton ("Mitt Romney is a disaster") offering inane 'commentary.' Audie would want to serve up a slice of inane herself so she'd toss out, "President Barack Obama has joked that this campaign, it's like Survivor."

Was that funny?

We didn't laugh but maybe somebody did.

Our lack of laughter had nothing to do with rooting for anyone -- we're pretty much decided at this point that we will not be voting in the 2012 presidential election. (We is Ava and C.I. We're not speaking for Third, we're speaking for ourselves.) We could care less about this puff and pageantry -- we are totally disinterested in everything to do with the hoopla.

Our lack of laughter has everything to do with lies.

We realize that Seth Myers and others have spent months painting the GOP race -- which only just now started this month -- as a circus with no clear winner, but we don't whore. And we're actually educated.

Those two things put us miles ahead of Seth and his kind.

On the live NPR coverage, it was just amazing to them, Mitt lost. Santorum won Iowa, they told us, Romney won New Hampshire and now Newt Gingrich won South Carolina. What was going on? Is this the 2012 meltdown the Mayans predicted!!!!!

Maybe only the disinterested should be allowed to provide coverage because clearly those with vested interests -- including, apparently, NPR on-airs -- can't be counted on to tell you the truth.

Is what's taking place in the first month of primaries so unheard of? Not at all. What about the results, are these just unheard of?

Tom Harkin won the Iowa Democratic Party caucus in 1992. Paul Tsongas won the Massachusetts Democratic Party primary in 1992. Bill Clinton won the South Carolina Democratic Party primaryi in 1992 (South Carolina switched from caucus to primary in 1992).

So how is what's happening now unheard of?

Either people are lying or they're just too damn stupid to be on the air or in print.

Too damn stupid to be in print?

Danny Schechter.

Mike just named him Idiot of the Week and, goodness, did Danny earn it for his bad ZNet column. Danny was slobbering over Stephen Colbert's knob. Why? Partly because of Colbert's very weak attempt at being the new Pat Paulsen. But mainly because it let Danny pretend he was writing about that as he churned out another attack piece on the GOP.

However, using Colbert as a device to attack the GOP wasn't enough for the partisan whore. After trashing the Republicans repeatedly (while pretending he's trashing both sides), he then serves up this xenophobic nonsense, "The rest of the world is laughing not only at the politicians, but at a US electorate that seems to be taking the farce seriously." To make sure that we grasp who the "farce" is, Danny then attacks Republicans further (while remaining silent on Barack).

So how is that xenophobic?

Read what he wrote. Let's be blunt, who but a New York City White man would refer to western Europe as "the rest of the world"? He cites a UK publication trashing the GOP, then notes that the UK publication cites "the German weekly Der Spiegel" and he quotes it attacking the GOP ("club of liars, debtors, betrayers, adulterers, exaggerators, hypocrites and ignoramuses"), then it's on to France's Liberation, then back to England for The Daily Mail.

So that's England, Germany and France. "The rest of the world"? China's the most populous country, it's left out, the continent of Africa completely overlooked, true also of the Middle East, of . . . You get the point. Western Europe is not "the rest of the world." Unless you're a xenophobe.

(He also includes Fidel Castro but misconstrues what Castro was writing about by including Castro in his survey of diatribes against the GOP. And if Big and Breasty Schechter had wanted to play it straight, he would have included Castro's comment about Barack. But Big and Breasty spent his entire column avoiding calling out Barack.)

It's not even February yet. It won't be until next week. The country has seen two primaries and one caucus. There are fifty states. The GOP contest could play out through May. And, if so, it won't be the end of the world. Also, as we have already established, it is not at all unheard of for the three states to have three different winners and having three different winners on the Democratic ticket in 1992 didn't prevent the Democratic Party from taking the White House that year.

(Bill Clinton won when George H.W. Bush thought he could ride a 'completed' Iraq War to a second term, despite the inflation and high unemployment. Yes, 1992 does appear to be a template year analysists should be referring to.)

What we're seeing isn't reporting. It's not even "commentary" by the historical understanding of the word. What we're witnessing is what Rob Lowe describes in St. Elmo's Fire as "a bit of self-created drama."

Who's the winner in Florida? For a brief moment, that was asked on NPR and a meaningful answer was actually given: TV stations which will carry tons of ads.

The media makes a ton of money off elections if they can build up the drama. Notch it up, make some more money. So they treat it as if it's amazing and unheard and novel and new.

When it's all so damn predictable and, yes, so damn drawn out. Other countries don't spend a year and a half gearing up for an election. Not only do we do that in the US, but we have so-called journalistic outlets on the left eager to serve not news but the Democratic Party. Which is why The Nation is unreadable today. As we've noted before, the 2006 mid-terms hadn't even taken place when John Nichols decided to start writing about the 2008 election. That's all the magazine is now and to say it may be good fodder for political junkies is insulting to political junkies.

"Campaign junkies."

That's what it is, get the term right.

And that's what our media hopes to turn the country into. That's among the many reasons that we're pretty much set on not voting in the 2012 presidential election. Maybe we'll follow Emily's example and instead come up with a revenge list. Wait and hope.

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