Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Monday, April 21, 2008

David Carr, writing in the NYT, is a good example of fellow media (or 'colleagues' in windbag vernacular) helping a debate-scorched ABC with a shoulder shrug and an "Oh well".
Sez Mr. Carr:

While it’s tempting to blame ABC...the news media’s values haven’t really changed...

Of course, a real story would say that the "values" have changed and offer this brief history.
As the media market expanded with cable in the late 70s and early 80s ratings for the more powerful older and original broadcast franchises declined and print saw readership losses.
Broadcasters started down the path of sensationalizing news and cutting staff while newspapers and magazines began emulating TV to plug audience leaks with emotional 'grabbers'.
In the mid 80s and 90s, the Federal regulations governing use of the public airwaves (in place since the 30s and rewritten for TV in the 40s) were eliminated and modified (these changes allowed programs such as Howard Stern and Sally Jesse Raphael to be classified as news and be exempt from the Equal Time Provisions and ultimately midwifing the name-calling format of Rush Limbaugh et al).
Also, as the 80s progressed under the Reagan revolution, media corporations took advantage of the new regulatory conditions and expanding marketplace possibilities to expand ownership while minimizing work force cogs and streamlining editorial policy and control in the guise of “product maintenance”.
A vast, unruly domestic print and broadcast environment (many privately held) mutated into a mere unregulated, profit-bent handful and this handful proved to be very easy pickings for the fascist velociraptors orbiting the Bush scion.
So, while I can understand why a modern media institution like the New York Times would prefer to imagine that “media values haven’t really changed”, history would tend to convince the impartial observer otherwise.
Further proof was found on ratings-crazed ABC last week.
The Gray Lady, perhaps smelling blood and an audience, potentially, adrift showed a glimmer of tooth in the final, somewhat less enabling, paragraph:

It was a disgusting spectacle, a tableau that etched not the bankruptcy of politics but of the people covering it.

Maybe, but will this general “train wreck” consensus remain after the frenetically candy-coated musings of Op-ed enablers?

Image: ABC News,,

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