29 June 2011

The media.

What the hell is the Media anyway?

The most obvious answer is that it's anything the speaker wants it to be. The Pew Research Center released a report in fall 2010 on media consumption among Americans. I think it's important to talk about the survey in terms of consumption, even if the report is titled "Americans Spending More Time Following the News: Ideological News Sources: Who Watches and Why."

As I read the report (it's eight long internet pages with all sorts of charts), I started thinking that it really revealed the way in which the media has become an ideological sparring ground. News outlets have never been clear of ideology, but what gets me is the question of "news organization believability." Pew asked respondents to rate news organizations on a scale of 1-4, with 4 labeled "Believe all or most" and 1 labeled "Believe almost nothing."

I want to see the people who scored anything a 4. I want to do business with them.

Now if you asked me if I believed "all or most" of something a pundit said, like a Bill O'Reilly or a Keith Olbermann, I'd be a moron to say yes. If I had to believe "all or most" of what was printed in the Post, then I'd have to believe crap-dealers like Krauthammer, Gerson, Will, etc. Sorry.

Besides, "belief" is hardly the right word. The question itself is too cut and dry. Do I "believe" there's been a tsunami that caused a nuclear accident? Do I "believe" the Congressperson/President talking points from a press conference reported in the paper? These are very different things.

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