Friday, June 02, 2006

Silver Lining

In his most recent editorial, Mark Hyman revisits the ongoing Project for Excellence in Journalism. You might remember that last year, Hyman delivered two editorials on the study, both of which were distorted and self serving. (You can see the responses to these editorials here and here.)

This time around, Hyman again tolls the death knell of the news industry. I have to admit I find it fascinating that someone who claims to be reporter and works for an outfit ostensibly in the news business takes such glee in running down his profession. Perhaps he should get out of the profession. (More on that later.)

Hyman again distorts the data, particularly concerning the ratings of the major news networks. He claims Fox has “more than half” of the cable news audience and that MSNBC is in “free fall.”

In fact, the
data presented by the PEJ shows that CNN still leads in total viewers by a wide margin, with Fox in second and MSNBC in third, but hardly in freefall. While the total numbers of viewers has see-sawed over the last couple of years, their distribution among the three networks has remained fairly constant. And CNN still remains the place where most people go for national and international news on cable.

Hyman is likely using a loaded statistic that weights viewers who tune in for long swaths of time more heavily than a viewer who tunes in to get the headlines for fifteen minutes and then move on to other things. The takeaway from this is that Fox Heads tend to tune in and zone out, enjoying the vast panorama of Fox’s intellectual offerings, from the musings of that irrepressible scamp Steve Doocy to the incisive commentary of Bill “Papa Bear” O’Reilly. Most CNN viewers have . . . you know . . . lives.

But Hyman doesn’t mention the best news in the PEJ report: that
Sinclair has shut down three news operations at their stations and may cut more in the coming year. Is Sinclair getting out of the news business? One can only hope. And it remains to be seen what the result will be. Will these stations be able to reconstitute a truly local news service and simply not have to use the Newscentral format? Will the elimination of Sinclair’s news programs also mean the elimination of Mark Hyman’s commentaries? Perhaps readers in the cities affected so far (Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Birmingham) can share some insight into how this is shaking out.

In any case, despite whatever bad news the PEJ holds for journalism, the announcement that Sinclair just might be getting out of the business is a reason for celebration for reputable journalists and their audiences across the country.

And that’s The Counterpoint.

Hyman Index: 3.47


At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How anyone can seriously think Hyman is good for journalism or the public good is beyond me. Mr. Hyman is delusional if he thinks that he occupies a respectable position in journalism. Right up there with drug-user Limbaugh and Bully Extraordinaire O'Reilly.

It's amazing what having a lot of money can do in this country: buy up stations, spread your propaganda, and not give one iota about public discourse, an exchange of ideas, or finding the truth. And if you have a ton of money, you can buy justice. Sinclair CEO Smith got a good plea deal after getting stopped by a cop, caught getting a blow job by a prostitute while in his company car (classy, huh). Limbaugh got a sweet deal by pouring millions into lawyer fees. And O'Reilly bought off the woman he sexually harassed with a secret, out-of-court, settlement.

Oh, I'm sorry... these aren't reprobates.. their journalists!

So Sinclair Broadcasting is what resulted from FCC deregulation? Oh great! Yippee! Long live democracy!

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How anyone can think Remington is to be taken seriously in the reasonable discussion of current events or the public good is beyond me.

Ted is delusional if he thinks that he occupies a respectable position of real influence. The psuedo intellectual Remmington and his choir ranks right up there with Ward 'little Eichman' Churchill and Jay 'I want to indoctrinate you' Bennish.

It's amazing what choosing to waste your taxpayer funded time can lead to: start up a rather bitter blog, spread your propaganda, and not give one iota about the truth, the proper exchange of ideas, or admitting to being incorrect. Remington makes a huge deal out of black helicopter theories, liberal talking points, and when Ted Kennedy says, "I'm right" it must be taken at face value.

This is the result of higher education at a public university? Long live taxpayer funding left unchallenged!

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Ted Remington said...

I'm sorry you feel that way. Could you give me an example of one of the many general charges you make?


At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Herbert Birdsfoot said...

I don't think you're going to hear back from anon2. Six years of republican control and not much good to show for it has left the remaining die-hards without much substance to argue with. That's why instead of talking about issues, most republicans only cry about the "liberal media" these days. The ones who are really stressing about the amount of pride they have invested in a failed ideology like anon2 will attack your patriotism too. Like the media bias crying, it too is always without substance.

At 12:48 PM, Anonymous CounterEarth said...

FYI: The Milwaukee stations owned by Sinclair are the local WB and UPN affiliates. With the demise of Sinclair's local news show (on the WB station), I'm sure it will stay dead for a long time with no national news show to lead into, or lead from.

At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you not familiar with Ted’s ol pal, SickOfSpin, the posting by Anon2 has all the earmarks of one of Sick’s unpleasant entries.

Sick’s contributions are quite a challenge: How does one actually communicate with someone who is so full of anger and incivility, yet at the same time, demonstrates a need to be heard? Heck, were not psychologists.

Sick’s rants indicates a big problem with our society: the combination of narcissism and little ability to empathize. Such attitudes undermine the very core of any healthy society. But our country is awash in this self-absorption. What its practitioners don’t seem to realize (or refuse to admit) is that, the more they focus on their own self-interests and presumed needs, the more irrelevant to society they become. But they are like a cancer, replacing healthy interactions with corrosive ones. If we could all turn off the IPods, the cable TV, the angry talk shows, etc. and actually communicate with each other, our society would be so much healthier. How else can a society function?

But looks what’s coming up for the next national election cycle. With all the problems our nation faces, the Republican leadership (i.e., Karl Rove et al) focuses on flag-burning and “protect” marriage amendments. Even the Republican base might start to see through this sort of insulting pandering to anger, homophobia, and self-absorption. There’s a war on (a real one, not Bill O’Reilly’s imagined ones), there’s a health (obesity) crisis, a health-care crisis, long-term energy problems, and red ink as far as the republicans can tax cut. But we focus on non issues, like flags burning all over the place.

So Sick, why not try to do something constructive, and fight the stupidity of your party’s leadership? Ted Remington runs a respectable, respectful, blog. Compare how he responded to you versus your invective. Any grade school child, faced with your blog and Ted’s could see which is fair and which is just angry ranting.

From your attacks, it’s clear that you’re not here to win friends. From your lack of argumentation, it’s clear that you’re not here to advance a point of view (beyond mental illness awareness).

Why not try doing something positive for a change?


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