Good morning to everyone, even cable news

‘Cable news is not literally a broadcast business, but a narrowcast. At any given moment, there are a relative handful of people (in peak hours less than five million and in non-prime hours half that, out of the U.S. population of 320 million) watching all of these networks combined. American Idol, in contrast, routinely draws 30 million. Although cable news is a comparatively small market, it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. It is also lucrative.’

That’s from the Columbia Journalism Review in a story by Terry McDermott, “Dumb like a Fox“. His story begins as an examination of Fox News. In the process, he examines the universe of cable news network. A brief and interesting read.

He also says this:  ” it is a small market with a much larger mindshare, mainly because the media are self-reflective, creating a kind of virtual echo chamber. “

In case you missed it (and I dearly hope you did), last night Glenn Beck devoted his full hour to an interview with recently-resigned Representative Eric Massa (D-NY). Because Beck is exactly the kind of TV cable news ‘personality’ who is so very impressed with himself that he doesn’t see a need to do a little homework on his guests, the hour was a horror – for Beck anyway. Massa is very strange indeed, but he wasn’t the fire breathing ex-liberal Fox expected when they booked him. He is famously opposed to the Health Care bill that’s once again working its way through the hollow halls of Congress. This made him a desirable catch for a Fox show. But guess what . . . Massa opposes the current bill because he favors a single payer – he favors Medicare For All.  S-u-r-p-r-i-s-e !

And if the Beck show weren’t sufficiently empty of content, Lawrence O’Donnell who’s been sitting in for Keith Olbermann (Before taking a hiatus to attend to his dying father, Olbermann did a 30 minute incomprehensible rant on health care.) spent most of the Countdown hour re-running the video of the odd encounter of Beck/Massa, which had taken place two hours earlier. Entirely circular. Cable news now examines only its own navel.

And while I’m busy watching – and reading about – cable news, it is the 152nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.

UPDATE:  I surprise even myself – after pasting a quote – above – I then say “he also says” and paste a portion of the first quote. Perhaps I shouldn’t post till the afternoon.    

10 responses to “Good morning to everyone, even cable news

  1. he wasn’t the fire breathing ex-liberal Fox expected when they booked him.

    Right. He isn’t an ex-liberal; he’s an ex-conservative. He switched from Republican to Democrat.

    He is currently a far left Leftist.

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  2. Yep, one of these Fox pundits makes a comment on an issue and then Fox “news” reports on it with their “some say” modus operandi. It’s a self-perpetuating news cycle.

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    • [It’s a self-perpetuating news cycle.]

      So sadly true – and it isn’t just Fox – they’re just all so impressed with each other – and it’s always the same guests on the shows. Especially the Sunday shows. Did you know that McCain has already been on Meet the Press eight times since the election? Duh?

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  3. Wow. Just 1.5% watch prime time cable news.. Silly question, but does that mean 98.5% never watch cable news? What sources do they then have, if any..?

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    • I think polls show – can’t site a source offhand – that people mostly get their news from local sources – tv and newspaper.

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    • You know what I’d love to see? CSPAN’s numbers. But they don’t track them. Wouldn’t it be lovely if CSPAN attracted more viewers than cable news?

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      • Yeah, we could dream… 🙂

        But i still puzzled, if only 1% watch fox at all – how much damage could it really do? it depends on the 1% of course..

        And just wondering, how many have no connection to the world outside their local community or city – knowing little or nothing (and caring nothing) about congress and washington..

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        • It’s WHO watches – and that is the rest of the Washington media establishment and all the politicians. Someone recently remarked that either FOX or MSNBC is on in every congressional office all the time. Eventually these people begin to believe that what the cables are talking about is what America is talking about. It’s reinforced by the Washington press corps and it becomes real enough that the CBSs and ABCs and print newspapers etc start picking up on the story line. That’s how a Massa becomes page on in the New York Times.

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        • So true.

          Medicine; more blogs – less cable.

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