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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default NBC News And The Level To Which It Sucks

    John Hockenberry's article has been making the rounds and shaking things up around the blogispere at places that watch the mainstream media.

    It is seven pages and I encourage you to read it:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Info...845/page1/?a=f

    Even I was shocked.

    Then read his follow-up piece, which covers how the media flocked to his door for interviews but missed the big picture (Bill O'Reily comes off as a dufus):

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/guest/22004/

    You might get a stiff neck from shaking your head too much.
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    Eruption lal5150's Avatar
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    when the network 's decided that news needed to be entertaining and make money . thats when it went downhill.
    they hate if your the same , and they hate you if your different- evh

  3. #3
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    I started reading and am very interested in the premise. Maybe I'm just too tired and cranky right now, but so far it seems like the author is whining too much instead of hitting the crux of the matter. Because I bash the media as much as anyone I would love to finish reading and be proven wrong, so hopefully I can get back to it when I'm more alert.
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    John Hockenberry's article has been making the rounds and shaking things up around the blogispere at places that watch the mainstream media.

    It is seven pages and I encourage you to read it:

    http://www.technologyreview.com/Info...845/page1/?a=f

    Even I was shocked.
    he sounds like every disgruntled "idealist" that has ever been downsized or fired from, or quit a corporate job. People have been making this case against network news forever but it's not just network news, it's ALL news companies. Yes he's right in that they are fluffy, consumed with selling ads and placating an audience. That's their job.

    The real problem, what he really doesn't understand about the audience, is that they are, by and large, regular people who work all fucking day and have screaming kids to come home to and homework to worry about, and the 16 year old who wants to take the car out on friday night and the light bill that just arrived and is crazy high, and gas prices, and how much their boss pisses them off and on and on and on and on. Most people AREN'T interested in hearing about a retard who got killed in a jail cell. Most people AREN'T interested or even capable of grasping these larger international issues and the subtleties involved therein. They WANT to know about Brittney Spears and Diana, and they WANT to watch To Catch a Predator because it's easily digested and gives them something simple to talk about between cubicles the next day.

    Then you have another huge section of the population who is just too damn stupid and lazy and basically illiterate so all they want to see is bullshit.

    THAT is the bulk of the mainstream television audience and I don't think anyone can just simply blame the big wig network execs, though they are easy targets and to a point, do deserve a bit of blame. I do believe, to a certain extent, that the media should challenge and inspire the audience. In a way they are gatekeepers of freedom etc...but, they also have to please everyone. They have to please sponsors, soccer moms, conservative middle american jackasses, metrosexual liberal jackasses, and everyone in between. It's a hard job.

    The bottom line, for SEVERAL reasons, most people don't give a fuck about the type of news stories this guy wants to do. Sorry to have to be yet another person to tell him he's shit out of luck...in a lot of ways I'm just as disgusted by it as he is.

    What he also fails to understand, is that he doesn't have to rely on network news or Dateline because he has the internet and all the access that allows him and his audience to reach one another. He can do all the in-depth stories on the subtle interactions and origins of terrorist cells, prison abuse, technological paradigm shifts and whatever else comes out of his ass and post it on a host of websites that will connect with people just like him and perhaps galvanize those people to act out in protest or support or whatever else he has in mind. Hell, he's got a job at an MIT media think tank...sounds like he's in the perfect place and if not, there's always NPR.

    At best he wants to change the world and bring about a new level of thought and intellectual growth to the masses. At worst, and probably more accurately, he's yet another self-absorbed, arrogant, self-righteous "journalist" who fancies himself to be smarter than everyone else in the room and his ego will not be satiated until the entire world watches his stories on the major networks he so denigrates for being beneath him.

    But hey, if I got canned from a peach gig like Dateline I'd be pretty pissed too.

    This reminds me of my two trips through corporate business. I had a bunch of ideas about how we SHOULD be doing business. I wanted to change our marketing strategies, I wanted to change product selections, I wanted to change the approach to pricing and every time they'd say "you'd don't understand our customer." I've lost count of how many times I heard that or "that would work in a small mom-and-pop operation, but not here." You know what? They were right in a lot of ways. I'm very pleased to say that the company I last worked for has adopted a lot of the ideas I was fighting for 4 years ago and I get a certain amount of pleasure and pride in seeing it. I do get pissed that it didn't happen on my time-table but hey...that's how it goes sometimes.

    I think this guy is suffering more from a badly bruised ego than he is outrage at the state of mass media and its audience.
    Last edited by broken9500; 01.13.08 at 11:50 AM.

  5. #5
    Eruption Kevy5150's Avatar
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    ^^ I couldn't agree more with you. You're right.

    I've been a viewer of NBC news since I was a kid, but never before this time in my life have I become fearful of the dishonesty of media corporations. They want you to admire a female running for president, ignore anti-establishment politicians, fear Iran, believe that global warming is caused by CO2 emissions, rely on the feds to pull us through the next recession, and lower the standards of "fair" gas prices. Yes, we don't worry about these issues because we rely on our government to solve them, at least those less educated follow this philosophy, but that's the way the top dogs like it.

    The method of shifting public thought is another war fought upon the United States' society and elsewhere. We need a change in philosophy of the purpose of media and what to replace advertisements with, or if any. I think the power behind mass media is one of the greatest issues we are facing.
    Last edited by Kevy5150; 01.13.08 at 12:42 PM.
    Respects.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    Then read his follow-up piece, which covers how the media flocked to his door for interviews but missed the big picture (Bill O'Reily comes off as a dufus):

    http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/guest/22004/

    You might get a stiff neck from shaking your head too much.
    Typical follow up where he talks about his trepidation concerning the submission of his essay and mentions how he thought many would think he was just a disgruntled employee and the other reactions he'd receive. This makes him sound like all the other arrogant columnists who talk about themselves.

    He then used the O'Reilly bit to talk about how cable news has gone the same way and is just as consumed with ratings. No big surprise here and of course the O'Reilly show of all things would be interested in the more sensational aspects of his story and of NBC.

    In the end, his follow up makes him sound like an even more self-absorbed, "I'm-the-white-hot-pulsating-center-of-the-universe" jack off than he did in his first essay.

    He made one comment that made sense but he uses it as if he came up with the original thought.

    Any thought that journalism might embody the values of factual truth, a moral right, or civic accountability is merely arcane unless such virtues can also prove themselves by delivering revenue.
    No shit. This is THE ever-lasting, on-going conundrum of journalism as a whole. There have been movies, novels, essays, TV stories, articles, college courses, tell-all books, and every other sort of manifestation of this concept since pen was first put to paper.

    I'm not saying I disagree with him because as I said, in a lot of ways he's spot on...it's just that he handles the subject with such a sense of superiority, such a "victim of the system" attitude combined with a notion that he's somehow uncovering NEW information and making original observations that it becomes obvious that he's more interested in himself than he is in anything else...and THIS is THE #1 problem facing the modern media...the fact that people like Limbaugh, Olbermann, Wolf Blitzer, Hannity, O'Reilly and the rest of them think that THEY are the story. That THEY are some how more evolved, more intelligent and more worthy of digesting and relaying "news" of the day. We are living in an era of celebrity journalists and THAT conflict of interests is doing more to damage the integrity, objectivity and basic SELECTION of what is covered than anything else.

    Everyone wants to be the next Edward R. Morrow or Walter Cronkite, what's worst, all of them think they are BETTER than Morrow or Cronkite and each other and they feign humility by every once in a while spilling some bullshit about how they are "just a guy who gets paid to talk on the radio" or "I'm just a guy like you or your neighbour except I get paid to talk about the news on TV." Give me a break.

    The guy is right, the state of mainstream news is a mess. It sucks...but, right along with his inability to understand the audience, he also is missing the fact that he is part of the reason why.

  7. #7
    Atomic Punk
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    What he also fails to understand, is that he doesn't have to rely on network news or Dateline because he has the internet and all the access that allows him and his audience to reach one another. He can do all the in-depth stories on the subtle interactions and origins of terrorist cells, prison abuse, technological paradigm shifts and whatever else comes out of his ass and post it on a host of websites that will connect with people just like him and perhaps galvanize those people to act out in protest or support or whatever else he has in
    If you read the piece then you should know that this was exactly ne of his complaints, that NBC failed to understand emerging communications technology and how to use it to their advantage.

    At best he wants to change the world and bring about a new level of thought and intellectual growth to the masses. At worst, and probably more accurately, he's yet another self-absorbed, arrogant, self-righteous "journalist" who fancies himself to be smarter than everyone else in the room and his ego will not be satiated until the entire world watches his stories on the major networks he so denigrates for being beneath him.
    I didn't read that at all.

    His gripe was that the Dateline producers wouldn't run a story unless they could dove-tail it with other network programming so they could cross-promote their enterainment division. If he were sef-absorbed he's still be working for NBC.

    The real problem, what he really doesn't understand about the audience, is that they are, by and large, regular people who work all fucking day and have screaming kids to come home to and homework to worry about, and the 16 year old who wants to take the car out on friday night and the light bill that just arrived and is crazy high, and gas prices, and how much their boss pisses them off and on and on and on and on. Most people AREN'T interested in hearing about a retard who got killed in a jail cell. Most people AREN'T interested or even capable of grasping these larger international issues and the subtleties involved therein. They WANT to know about Brittney Spears and Diana, and they WANT to watch To Catch a Predator because it's easily digested and gives them something simple to talk about between cubicles the next day.

    Then you have another huge section of the population who is just too damn stupid and lazy and basically illiterate so all they want to see is bullshit.
    This is wrong and has been proven over and over again whenever a rare, high-quality TV show has hit the air. Ken Burn's "The Civil War" and his latest documentary "The War" both are examples of regualr people flocking to see intelligent programs. The fact that "60 Minutes" has been on the air for 40 years, it is still the most watched news program, if people were as stupid as you think that they are then this show should have vanished in the mid-1970s. Tonight (Jan.-13, 08) the show features the threat to Bluefin Tuna, Rape as a weapon in the Congo and the 23 year-old founder of Facebook. Not one of those topics was discussed in your home nor mine this week, yet "60 Minutes" is filling expensive airtime to these three topics.

    History has shown that if you challenge people and raise the standards that they will respond. Roosevelt proved this, JFK challenged the country and we responded positively all across the board.

    The fact that people now get their news from a variety of internet sources tells me that they WANT good information and will WORK to find it.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    A couple observations:

    1) This guy didn't read his own article. He acts like he feared the "main point" of his article and how technology is changing news would get lossed in his griping. Well, if he really read that article with an open mind, he would come away with the same conclusion we all are getting at: this guy is complaining about the greed of network execs, NOT about technology.

    2) He confused Dateline with news. Uh, sorry, but since its inception it has been crap. Sure there's a few gems in there, but it always made it's mark by doing crime shows, missing white females, etc. If he worked for the Nightly News, then he would have something.

    3) If he thinks we didn't get enough coverage of the central issues behind 9/11, he didn't watch television. That shit was everywhere.

    4) Why would GE geopardize their business relationships when the Bin Laden family would like nothing more than to distance themselves from their retard son? Neither party has anything to gain--this guy would just get a ratings boon for "journalistic integrity." Then he'd be out of a job when his retarded audience confused the Bin Laden family with GE doing business with Bin Laden, they boycott, and he's out of a job anyway. If he can't read between the lines, he isn't smart enough for the job.

    5) This guy clearly has an axe to grind. He sounds jealous of Chris Hanson, thinks Stone Phillips is a pawn, hates the execs even though most of his stories were aired anyway, and is just generally sour. If he was trying to make a point, he should have left out his whining because it clouds whatever point he was trying to make.

    6) Blame the ad-buyers. If they wanted journalistic integrity, they would pay for it. Instead, they just want the most people to see their 30 second fabric softener ad, and that requires ratings. It's easy to "blame the man," but they are just victims of the circumstance.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
    This is wrong and has been proven over and over again whenever a rare, high-quality TV show has hit the air. Ken Burn's "The Civil War" and his latest documentary "The War" both are examples of regualr people flocking to see intelligent programs. The fact that "60 Minutes" has been on the air for 40 years, it is still the most watched news program, if people were as stupid as you think that they are then this show should have vanished in the mid-1970s. Tonight (Jan.-13, 08) the show features the threat to Bluefin Tuna, Rape as a weapon in the Congo and the 23 year-old founder of Facebook. Not one of those topics was discussed in your home nor mine this week, yet "60 Minutes" is filling expensive airtime to these three topics.

    The fact that people now get their news from a variety of internet sources tells me that they WANT good information and will WORK to find it.
    if people, the majority of people, john q. public, joe average, was really more interested in high brow, indepth, intelligient news reporting then PBS news and NPR would have higher ratings and the networks and cable news channels would be following the lead of those news outlets.

    60 minutes has a loyal following. You are correct but it is no where near what it used to be and has been slumming it for years.

    Yes people are getting their news from the internet but those sites include TMZ and other celebrity quick shot news channels as well as whatever pops up on MSN and Yahoo.

    Yes the networks were slow to grasp the new technology but what did he want them to DO with the technology. That was a huge piece missing from the article. He says, on a couple of occassions that he felt Dateline and NBC were unable to really understand what they had available to them but he didn't really paint a picture of what embracing the new technology looked like. To me, he was masking the true thesis of his argument with that techonology crap. What he was really bitching about was not getting his stories, and the kinds of stories he felt needed to be, on Dateline.

  10. #10
    Hot For Teacher 8amtill606's Avatar
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    I just don't see this as an issue of the MSM not keeping up with technology. Maybe it's a mix of several elements, but the key thing is that viewership and readership is plummeting for these guys - not a little, but alot. And there is a reason I think.

    Think about when this really started to take shape. You may not like or agree with him, but Rush Limbaugh can be credited with some of the pioneering as to how the new media picked up steam. When he started most people were getting all of there information from MSM outlets (the big 3 and CNN) - and the control that it had on the majority of the news information that Americans consumed was enormous. Anyone who wishes to deny that is plain wrong. So Rush and others like him would counter a MSM news item with contradictory information obtained from less publicized or popular news outlets. Over time, he was able to prove - by way of counter information - that the MSM was reporting only the parts of stories that furthered it's political leanings or agenda. People caught onto this in time and started to seek out these other sources of information. This led to the development of what we see now. The advancement of technology only made it easier for us to get the information.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the MSM's lack of technological advancement wasn't nearly as damaging to it's power as was it's 'activism' in it's news reporting. It's never about the facts, unless those facts can show the story the way they wish it to be seen by the public. The evidence of this is overwhelming as most MSM journalists now proudly espouse their political affiliation and positions on policy. Just look at how the reporting of the Iraq war turned in the last two months. When things weren't going well, the news - everyday - led off with a body count. Now that things are improving, it is nowhere to be found. But we do know it's going well because there is more reliable information out there. What the MS press is pissed about is that they lost the control they had. Information and perception doesn't belong to them anymore.

    Just like Hollywood and this stupid writers strike. The Hollywood people are running around whinning about how there is no programming and no awards... but guess what? NO ONE CARES!!! Theatre viewership is down and has been going down steadily for years. WHY??? Again, I attribute it to the same thing as with the MSM - political activism. Since Bush got elected, Hollywood has made it's number one priority to be activists and descredit Bush, the War, Katrina, global warming - whatever. Look where it has taken them. NO ONE CARES!

    The normal American citizen just wants to get through their day supporting their family with as much happiness as possible. They also want to be told the truth and the majority of folks are smart enough to know when institutions like the MS press and Hollywood are trying tell them what they probably know if their gut is wrong. They just tune it out and look someplace else for other information to make their own decision. In the end, these institutions are starting to implode because they were never real to begin with.

    Just my two cents.

 

 

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