The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Monday, November 17, 2014

US News Media Is No Longer Viable In Its Deeper Role: Informing Americans

Last week Media Matters published an important piece about US cable news coverage of issues in light of the then imminent mid-term elections. Despite my overwhelming contempt for AP/GfK polling, the piece states the reality of US electronic media. 
Network News Overlooks Policy Issues In Midterm Coverage
Research November 9, 2014 10:36 AM EST ››› LIS POWER & DENISE ROBBINS
A Media Matters study on the coverage of key policy issues in nightly news' midterm election broadcasts finds that 65 percent of network news segments that dealt with the midterm elections failed to discuss the policy issues most important to the American people.
Polling Shows That The Economy and Health Care Were The Most Important Policy Issues To Voters

Economy And Health Care Top Polls On Issues Important To Voters. Several polls conducted this year concluded that health care and the economy were the two most important issues for voters leading up to the midterm elections. An Associated Press-GfK poll concluded that 92 percent of voters stated that the economy was "extremely" or "very" important to them, and 80 percent of voters stated the same for health care. A Huffington Post/YouGov poll similarly found that the economy and health care were the top two issues to voters thinking about the 2014 midterm elections:
Most Important Issues
Most Important Issues[Associated Press, 10/1/14; Huffington Post, 10/31/14]

It doesn't take a Ph.D to recognize US media ,specifically cable news evening shows, have become far from viable reporters of news critical to the US public. Cable news has become both entertainment media, the messenger for conservative America and by default a media for the Kochs who are obviously working toward oligarchy.

The GOP masterfully corralled media away from issues most important to voters and supplanted those issues with fear based campaigning. The GOP corralled media, not the issues.

Do you recall CNN's (of course you do not watch Fox News) incessant coverage of EBOLA? Did you see or hear about Sean Hannity declaring after the election their job was complete regarding EBOLA? How about CNN and Fox News coverage of ISIS and GOP sightings around the US borders. Have you heard about any sightings since the election? The GOP might not have won the midterms so handily if US media (cable news) reported on issues of most interest to voters vs chasing ratings garnering stories from the GOP. 

Another and more poignant example of my posit was a nascent segment on Candy Crowley's (CNN) State of the Nation. The show host via her producers and programmers brought the two party Chairs together for what could have been a meaningful exchange and offering of position statements. Crowley, I believe intentionally, sat back and allowed the show to become a Jerry Springer like shouting match with Reince Priebus singularly firing-off rhetoric about "Obama's policies." His opponent Debbie Wassermann-Schultz bit on the strategy like an un-gamely Cat Fish and along with Crowley's lack of facilitation wallowed in GOP muck. "Muck" garners viewers/revenue while simultaneously lowering the quality and credibility of US media, failing to perform as purveyors of accurate information and driving the nation into the Charles and David Koch spider web.

US cable new has become as polarized as encamped as battling armies and mirrors the US citizenry. A few months back Pew Research published a detail study of polarization across the nation.

Pew Research via published in June 2014: "7 things to know about polarization in America"
U.S. Political Polarization

Politically engaged and polarized
6. The most ideologically oriented Americans make their voices heard through greater participation in every stage of the political process. Self-reported voting rates are higher among those on the right than the left, but higher among those on the left than in the middle. Political donation rates are roughly double the national average among ideologically consistent liberals (31% have donated money) and conservatives (26%).

Republicans, Democrats and growing animosity2. Partisan antipathy has risen. The share of Republicans who have very unfavorable opinions of the Democratic Party has jumped from 17% to 43% in the last 20 years. Similarly, the share of Democrats with very negative opinions of the Republican Party also has more than doubled, from 16% to 38%. But these numbers tell only part of the story. Among Republicans and Democrats who have a very unfavorable impression of the other party, the vast majority say the opposing party’s policies represent a threat to the nation’s well-being.

In 2013, Media Matters performed and published results of a detailed study of US media has become the domain of the white male (synonymous with US conservatism). Even though the studies do not reveal such, I think it safe to assume reference to "the white male" relates to older white males who dominate via the GOP. As you review the linked piece and the two charts posted below, you may have an epiphany regarding John McCain and his party's ballistic reaction when any progressive sits on a Sunday News shows and offers positions and dialog contrary to GOP dogma. 

I assert what you are about to view from January 2013 was a more exponentially Right lean during the run-up to November 2014.

Now, take a look a  few charts from the spring of 2013. 

In April 2013, the GOP Sequestration was covered as shown in the chart that follows.  

"In Flight Delays, Cable Finds A Sequestration Story Worth Covering"
 A sad reality isn't it?

If you are wondering why we started this piece with a 2014 Media Matters report US media failure regarding covering issues important to voters then segueing to a 2013 demographic review of US media, think deeper. We developed the piece as such to show how almost total right-wing domination of US media paid-off for the GOP in 2014. Did you hear anyone in the GOP mention the economy? What we have today is the direct result of media chasing the ratings dragon while literally moving the nation well into the dark side of GOP politics and the waiting oligarchy of the the Kochs and Friends.

When I stated the reason for the media complicity in moving the nation's psyche moderately Right of center, I may have left the impression of a singular focus on viewership and revenues. Revenues for certain media (Fox News and morning MSNBC) is a secondary consideration to shaping the nation in the likeness or shadow of US conservatism.

Media Matters's November 9th piece with reference to "several polls" is great reporting that reflects the interest of a majority of a specific group of surveyed voters. 

While the US economy may appear to some as in bad shape, I can only relegate those folk to LIVs (low information voters). People who sit and soak-up GOP influenced reporting from Fox News and CNN like running a dry sponge along a sink full of water.

We focused this piece on cable news networks. Take a quick purview of how major networks reported prior to the midterm elections.
If you look closely you will see an intriguing look at Network News from a non-affiliated PhD political scientist. 

If you are thinking "unbelievable," you are a correct thinking person. I will add another qualifier. The graphic reports the unfathomable. And, some of us wonder how the Right laid a killing in the early mid-term elections. When media seeks the excitable or complete ignores issues critical to the health of the nation, the nation becomes susceptible to economic and social disease. If you think the George Bush's disease was the pits of a national abyss, wait until the Kochs have full control of driving the ship. They are driving 2/3's of our government; now think of life in 2016 and beyond should the DEMs again stumble like amateurs and fumble our complete federal government to the Kochs.

Thomas Jefferson was both protective of a free press but at times he held the press in complete contempt. 

H-Net Online

"The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them." (1787) 

Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe," (1816)

"The only security of all is in a free press," "The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure."

Yet, after during his presidency he wrote.
""Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper," he wrote in 1807. "Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day."
Without question, Jefferson would view what we call the "Media" as a pathetic messenger of political agenda, propaganda, failed reporting and in some cases an actual wing of political ideology...all driven by quest for ratings.

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