Archive for commercialize

Payback time: You want speculation, news media? Fine. Let's speculate about you for a change.


payback time

Day in and day out, I watch, read, listen, and write about news. And because I do so much watching, reading, and listening. I tend to notice recurring themes. A major recurring theme is how much time the so-called "news" [sic] media spends on speculation.

breaking speculation

Most of that speculation centers on the 2016 presidential election, focusing specifically on Hillary Clinton vs (currently) Chris Christie. Newsflash, "journalists": It's only 2013, and you started this endless loop of What Ifs the day after Election 2012. This is ludicrous. This is not news, this is meaningless filler and a shameless ploy used to pull in viewers.

And hey viewers, how about you stop enabling?

Then again, there is very little "real" news reporting any more, not since news departments became commercialized all those years ago. Not since it became all about profit, which news stories sell, which headlines attract ratings, and as a result, attract sponsors and their buckets of money.

And don't get me started on media bias. The CBS "60 Minutes" Benghazi story scandal is only the latest, and if you're a regular reader, you know that the Sunday morning talk shows have an obvious rightward slant.

But back to that nasty speculation habit. When you watch the "news" shows, you see them produce hours upon hours of What If about future elections, about the *gasp!* doomed fate of the Affordable Care Act, about which freedoms we might lose if we don't do something about some catastrophe that might or might not happen, about which new scandal *could* result from Darrell Issa's umpteenth witch hunt about absolutely everything/nothing.

You can actually see concrete examples of all this speculation in their  TV chyrons, like, Low Obamacare enrollment numbers: Sign of problems to come?"; "A third 'Bush' in office?"; "Will the world end in 2012? Many people believe so." We get a ton of cowardly headlines in the form of a question, Alex, so that nobody has to commit to actual, you know, reporting.

Facts schmacts.

Well now it's our turn. News outlets want to speculate? Fine. Let's turn the tables and speculate about them for a change:

  • Will Fox finally become defunct when Americans wake up and realize they're a bunch of propagandists and liars? You decide.
  • Will MSNBChristie require financial assistance when viewers revolt after on their constant fawning over the ::cough!:: "moderate" New Jersey photo op glutton? Who knows?
  • Will ABC's ratings take a fatal plunge the next time syrupy panel regular Peggy Noonan condescends ad nauseam on "This Week"? We'll find out.
  • Will CNN change its name to Comedy Central 2 when they become self aware enough to realize what a parody they've become? It's anybody's guess.
  • "Some say" cable news has crossed a line by being bought and paid for by right wing corporate cash monsters who find themselves more than a little obsessed with Christie, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Marsha Blackburn, Reince Priebus, Marco Rubio, John Boehner, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham. Could this spell trouble for attracting future investors? We'll have to wait and see.
  • "Anonymous sources" tell The Political Carnival that the glut of Big Pharma ads-- especially for Cialis-- that saturate cable news channels could lead to a revolt among increasingly hypochondriacal viewers, specifically bathtub owners. True? We can't say for sure.
  • We're hearing that air time spent on trivia-- like how many shoppers are lining up to buy the new iPhone, instead of on hard news stories-- could possibly-- we're speculating here-- cause riots among viewers with functioning brains. More on that as details emerge.
  • Rumors abound about the habit and practice of cable show hosts inviting other cable show hosts to provide commentary that they just gave on their own shows. Incestuous? Tweet us with your answers.
  • We're learning-- well, we've heard-- well, okay, we overheard-- that cable news viewers are about to retaliate en masse over all the in-house backslapping, "my friend" references, "be safe" cautions, and insufferable book plugs. True or false? At this point, we can only make an educated guess.

speculation what do I know


Doonesbury: "Where's the newspaper?" "It folded."


reading newspaper

Doonesbury newspaper folded

"Where's the newspaper?"

"It folded."

See what Garry Trudeau did there?

And see what the newspaper industry is doing? It's folding, too, to my dismay. Maybe it will thrive online-- eventually-- and maybe billionaires like Jeff Bezos will be the ones to save them, but if so, save them at what cost to journalism?

How much (more) political influence will the Bezoses of the world exert, if any? How will journalism of the future look? Will objective reporting survive, or will opinion news swallow up what's left of real news? Will commercializing the news business even more doom it completely, or will the pendulum eventually swing back in favor of what many of us yearn for: quality, accurate, truthful reporting?

To quote Michael J. Doonesbury, "Gaaaah!"


Commercialized news does it again! Accuracy schmaccuracy.


cnn most trusted


All day there have been ferocious flurries of reports about whether or not there has been an arrest in the Boston Marathon bomb case. I caught this tweet of a concise recap of who got it right and who got it wrong:

tweet boston marathon bad reporting

I tweeted this in response: It appears that lefty, commie Marxist socialist Obama-owned MSNBC had more accurate reporting than other news sources. #CommercializedNews

It's been an embarrassment of scrambling news sources trying to justify their erroneous reporting. CNN much? Commercialized news strikes again, where profit trumps accuracy, and infotainment trumps real news.

Hey, remember when the Daily Show hammered CNN and Fox for their erroneous “unconstitutional mandate hyperventilation” over Supreme Court decision? Me too!

Snarky, hilarious, harsh, and even poignant tweets have been flying all over the Twitterverses about how news outlets seemed to be more concerned about getting a scoop than about accuracy in reporting. Here are a few that I caught (one is a RT by me of another tweet):

Now check out this excerpt from an email from a TV industry executive, fresh from Politico:

It's not about getting to the truth or serving the public good, it's about who can make the wittiest joke to impress their friends. This is an important story for the nation, and reporters from organizations new and old are trying to cover it. People make mistakes.

Whatsamattayou? This isn't about getting to the truth!  Hey, people make mistakes! Even the so-called professionals who claim they're the ones who you can TRUST!

As you can see in the video, here's what the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Boston division had to say:

Contrary to widespread reporting, no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack. Over the past day and a half, there have been a number of press reports based on information from unofficial sources that has been inaccurate. Since these stories often have unintended consequences, we ask the media, particularly at this early stage of the investigation, to exercise caution and attempt to verify information through appropriate official channels before reporting.

facts schmacts smaller

details schmetails


Naming Nemo: Commercializing the weather


naming nemo

The Weather Channel decided to name the Big New England Blizzard as part of a policy they previously announced. They say they will give names to winter storms so that you and I can follow them more easily. We apparently need snazzy, memorable names to do that, because apparently keeping track of major news of major storms along major swaths of America is too difficult for dimwits like us.

So commercializing the weather will fix all that. Just like commercializing the news allowed us all to be so much more informed by outlets with absolutely no bias whatsoever.

As you can see from the screen grab above, some meteorologists aren't exactly thrilled, so they started a Facebook page, "STOP the Weather Channel from naming winter storms."

fb page stop weather channel from naming storms

Per the L.A. Times hard copy (this information has since been scrubbed from the online version), Thomas Downs, a meteorologist with Weather 2000, a New York-based forecasting and consulting firm, "speculates that because the Weather Channel is owned by NBCUniversal, stations owned by that company will be the most enthusiastic about using the names." I can picture it now:

NBCU: Weeee! We get to use totes adorbs names! Weeee! Higher ratings! Weeee! We're enthusiastic!

George Wright, a meteorologist and the founder of Wright Weather Consulting in New York, made this point in an interview with The Times: “A hurricane is something that’s more unusual and devastating. If you start naming other storms, people will suddenly think this might be a hurricane.”

Joel Meyer, founder and president of AccuWeather, a Weather Channel competitor, issued a statement this fall blasting the Weather Channel for its decision.

"In unilaterally deciding to name winter storms, the Weather Channel has confused media spin with science and public safety.”

Of course, the Weather Channel would never decide to start naming storms just to draw more viewers to their site. That would be self-serving and give their detractors more fodder for criticism:

The Weather Channel decided to start naming storms after it coined a 2011 event Snowtober, a name that got picked up on Twitter and in media outlets and drew more viewers to the site.


Well, at least they're giving a great deal of thought to the choice of names so as to maintain a modicum of real gravitas:

[Brian Norcross, senior executive director of weather content and presentation at the Weather Channel] supervised the creation of this year’s list of winter storm names, which also include Draco, Gandolf and Walda. While the Weather Channel first looked at using baby names from the early 20th century, it eventually settled on names of gods from Norse and other mythologies. Jorel, the father of Superman, nearly made the list, but was swapped out at the last minute for Jove.

Cartman is still waiting in the wings.

cartman hippies