Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cable News: Media's Oxymoron

By: Paul Meara

When it comes to television news these days, journalism is at a premium. The goal of any television cable network is first and foremost RATINGS. Ever hear of the old journalism line “If it bleeds, it leads?” Cable news takes that slogan into a whole different dimension. But is it their fault? Isn’t the whole goal of T.V. networks to have the best ratings to boost advertising revenue? Or should they be held accountable for their programming especially if they are going to call themselves a "news" network?

Over 90 percent of programming on cable news networks CNN, Fox News and MSNBC is something other than hard news reporting. In fact, sometimes a 30-minute news broadcast on CBS has about as much reporting as a cable news network does in a 24-hour cycle. Fox News has been notorious for having the highest ratings of the three since it’s launch in 1996. I say ‘notorious’ because those who bring in the highest ratings have the largest amount of sideshows that produce the ratings; journalism has nothing to do with it.

News legend Ted Koppel was featured on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” in March. He believes that cable news needs a little less opinion and a lot more fact, saying, “In the face of what Fox is doing or in the face of what MSNBC is doing, there is not a reason for the public to assume anything other than what we are doing is just giving our own opinions.”

When the public believes that opinion is fact and that cable news networks do not have a ratings agenda, it is not only bad for the future of journalism, it is bad for the people.

Cable news networks SHOULD be held accountable for their programming. If you don’t want to change from broadcasting the normal day of pretty much anything but hard news, then change your name!

Below is a clip of the interviews from the documentary Outfoxed. It shows the shady dealings, the Fox News Network has participated in...

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