‘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.