On my way home today I was listening to NPR's Cleveland City Club Forum with Av Westin presenting: What is Wrong with Television News?
He sees politicization, as some call it foxification, as the worst trend in network news. "The reporter being visibly appalled when hearing an opposing opinion." Av stressed, that his is not talking about the opinion journals like the Bill O'Reilly show, which was the first face that came to my mind when I heard this.
The reason behind it is not a conspiracy, but quite simple the ratings game. If you ask the American populace they are about evenly divided into 40% that call themselves conservative and 40% on the liberal side and 20% that don't want to be put in either of these boxes.
Now the interesting difference is, that the conservative camp is watching more TV news and stays longer on the same channel, therefore provides more ad revenue for the program.
There is your target audience, if all that counts is ratings. The networks also realized, that if you play to audience' emotion, if you take the neutrality out, people stay even longer. Fox was the first one to figure that out and the others are playing catch up.
Not owning a TV myself I realized, that I am part of the problem. My apologies, but I will not change my evil way for the greater good of more balanced TV News. :-)
Clear proof that the free market forces don't always bring out the best for society. Please give me BBC and some public service stations. Think about it, the only TV cameras at the Accelerating Change 2004 were from Arte(french) a European niche player mostly financed by the French and German government.
Oh and being at it, if you want to have an example where governmental guidance is working phenomenally well check out the city Curitiba in Brazil:
Residents of Curitiba, Brazil, think they live in the best city in the world, and a lot of outsiders agree. Curibita has 17 new parks, 90 miles of bike paths, trees everywhere, and traffic and garbage systems that officials from other cities come to study. Curibita's mayor for twelve years, Jaime Lerner, has a 92 per cent approval rating.
When was the last time you met a government official with such a approval rating? Here is what sounds like his work statement:
'There is no endeavor more noble than the attempt to achieve a collective dream. When a city accepts as a mandate its quality of life; when it respects the people who live in it; when it respects the environment; when it prepares for future generations, the people share the responsibility for that mandate, and this shared cause is the only way to achieve that collective dream.'
Just replace city with world and you have the collective dream of a world that works for all of us. [via WorldChanging]