Monday, April 23, 2007

Lesson Learned? Media

I was left wondering about something today. I intend to make this my last discussion of the matter this week, but it really has been something for me to think about.

There's no doubt that the media is under fire for its mishandling of the Cho Seung-Hui "manifesto". Some bad choices were made, and there really can be such a concept as "too much information" in instances like this one.

What I'm curious about is the quality of media being governed by supply and demand theories. Suppose out of all the print and broadcast media, one entity had decided its mission would have been to handle the coverage with grace, dignity and consideration for those left behind in the wake of this nightmare. Their releases would have shown a lot of discretion and good taste in disseminating the information, perhaps merely acknowledging the existence of Cho's words and video, but holding back the sordid details. In light of such a supposition, would you, being offered such an option, have chosen to tune in to, or purchase a copy of this particular entity's publication or broadcast?

If somewhere, some journalistic entity were to choose such a direction, would you move toward supporting it?

In situations such as this, there are calls for reprimand, for boycotts, etc. And while emotions run high, people might entertain such notions, but in the real world, boycotts rarely hold up. And as long as there is a demand for this quality of coverage, it will continue to happen this way. But I really wonder, if someone were to offer alternatives, would there really be a market for it?


  1. That's a good question. I don't think the market for it will be as big, thus no one is pouncing on it. They all know that sensationalism sells.

    I love that quote by Edmund Burke. So true.

  2. I think the market for it would be small, but yes, I'd be interested for myself. I'd like someone to offer me news the way that I repeat information to my mother. I tell her the truth, and I tell her everything she needs to know to understand what I'm telling her about and why it's relevent, but I also take out the foul language and explain things in a factual but non-graphic way.

  3. Information is like a wild animal -- it wants to be free. Suppressing information, regardless whether done from a position of grace, kindness or evil, is still a losing proposition. The hoi poloi want their fix and they want it now.

  4. This is the era of "reality" TV. Not many Americans care to stifle their morbid curiosity. The station with discretion may attract some viewers--but it would tank anyway. The advertisers would be placing their bets on the stations with airing whatever dirty laundry they could find.

  5. That is a good question. I think there are plenty of good people throughout the country who would appreciate such a market. But there are way too many of us who are waiting to see the graphic details and exploits of our neighbors, waiting to see the gory, dirty "truth"". Maybe because the worse we make someone look, the better we feel about ourselves?

  6. I grapple with the "too much news" concept. People, in this kind of situation, have a STRONG hunger for getting some kind of understanding. So, the more information, the better the chance for understanding - you would think.

    However, other kinds of things I wish would stay on the qt. I don't need to know that Kennedy was philanderer or that Columbus was a bad guy. The country gets along better with limited knowledge in some areas.

    The trouble is, who is REALLY qualified to make that judgment?

  7. I believe there would be a market for it. They would have to be okay with less ratings, money and sponsers. Too much greed in the media but if someone was already rich they could make it happen.

    Great quote!

  8. I don't know, call me an optimist, but I think the market is bigger than we think. I think after September 11 people were much more interested in the acts of heroism, sacrifice, love and unity than in all the gory details. Yes, there was some interest in the other side too, but to me there seemed to be an overall sense of coming together as a country for a short time afterwards.

    The trouble would be getting the name of this type of media out there and building the reputation. There are the big few news organizations that people immediately turn to when something noteworthy happens. Competing with an established reputation of that kind is always difficult.

  9. I don't know if there'd be a market. I read Lily's thoughtful post on this, and commented there that we're fast becoming a nation of idiots. I watch very little "news" on television anymore. The fact that most of the anchors, men and women, look and dress like they're about to go clubbing takes away from their credibility for me...


  10. I myself would be interested, along with others of a like mind. Unfortunetly, there aren't alot of us out there. Most people LOVE the sensationalism. Before, the Enquirer was a rag that old ladies and trailer park mentalities picked up at the check out. Now.. it seems to be the norm. Sad state of affairs, that's for sure!

  11. We think alike...



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