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Author Topic: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news  (Read 2748 times)

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Offline rick957

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2010, 03:23:44 PM »
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Who pray tell placed a mantle of obligation on private companies to provide an informative service? If it is the government by way of the FCC and regulations, again I don't believe that should be the government's place. Their only function in maintaining the airwaves should infrastructure and freedom of access.

I don't claim to have much knowledge about the following, but my understanding is that TV and radio frequencies are public property that gets designated for their particular uses by the government.  The days of over-the-air broadcast television ended recently, but both cable and satellite companies need government cooperation to provide their services, as do internet service providers and phone companies.  The laying and maintenance of thousands of miles of cable and the launching of satellites must require at least government authorization and regulation, if not partial funding in direct or indirect ways.  The upshot is that the public should have some general say in what kinds of content end up in our popular media (TV, radio, or the internet). 

I'm not advocating government involvement in dictating or regulating media content, at least not in a close way.  However, I think any private company that depends on public resources or subsidies has some obligation to use them in a way that benefits the public.  Presumably that expectation was the basis for the government's allocation of those resources or subsidies.

With regard to news delivery, I think the public expects the media to keep people informed about matters of public importance.  If the media is collectively failing to do that because there's more money in other kinds of content, I think the public needs to ask if its resources have been appropriately allocated.

The level of generalization I'm using here is problematic, I know, but I lack the knowledge to go into greater specifics -- maybe someone else can help with that.

Vekseid just said something above that's similar to what I'm trying to say, I think ... but he made it sound lots more authoritative.  I can't fully tell how well his point lines up with mine because whenever I see a phrase like "IPv6 space," my brain turns to pudding.  :)

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NRP should stand or fall on its own merits. If it is the great product some believe it is, it shouldn't have any problem doing so. Media outlets should reflect the general populace, and its not the function of government to foist diversity upon the population. We, us, they either are, or are not (diverse).

It's a bit of side-issue, but I brought up public TV and radio because I think those media outlets serve an essential public function, in delivering relatively-unbiased news about issues of importance that have no commercial or entertainment value.  Koppel was saying that long ago, the public expected all news purveyors in the media to strive for objectivity and non-partisanship, and now that's far from the case.  It was capitalist market forces that drove objective reporting out of privately-owned media; it turned out that partisan bickering and fluff-entertainment was more lucrative than hard news.  If public radio and TV were subject to the same market pressures as privately-owned media, the results would probably be the same, it seems to me.  Personally, without public TV and radio, I'd have no American major-media outlets to turn to for reliable, substantive news.  I would find that, well, kinda scary and upsetting.  So phooey on your NPR-bashing, bub.  :) 

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2010, 03:33:05 PM »
So phooey on your NPR-bashing, bub.  :)

Do forgive me if I don't respond point by point to your reply. I did read it though. I remain firm in my belief the government's responsibility should begin and end at infrastructure and free access. Any involvement beyond that, in my opinion at least, should be railed against.

I don't bash NPR :) Just as you already know, believe that if that format was in fact a redeemable one, it could and would stand on it's own. I'm very much a believer in Capitalism. Much to the distress of my Liberal friends ;D

Offline rick957

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2010, 03:41:14 PM »
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Do forgive me if I don't respond point by point to your reply.

Oh sure, I'm glad you read it tho, it was longish.  :)

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I don't bash NPR :) Just as you already know, believe that if that format was in fact a redeemable one, it could and would stand on it's own. I'm very much a believer in Capitalism. Much to the distress of my Liberal friends ;D

Yeah, I'm for capitalism too, but not without enough regulation to keep stuff like NPR alive and prevent stuff like Enron from happening.  I think pure free-market capitalism is to blame for lots of problems.  Some people think those same problems result from restrictions on free-market capitalism, but so far as I can tell, I think they're mostly wrong about that. 
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 03:43:02 PM by rick957 »

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2010, 06:13:16 PM »
Of course it's 10 billion times worse when the man behind the entire channel donates to partisan causes than when a partisan host does it.  Why?  Because a partisan host is known for being partisan, whereas a good portion of the Fox News Channel at least pretends to be non-partisan.  I'd say that's also where Fox's success largely comes from.

Because Fox and MSNBC are selling prepacked points of view that are intended to cater to their audience, whoever does a better job of disguising this fact is obviously going to be more successful.  Conservatives don't just love Fox because Fox tells them what they want to hear, they love Fox because Fox tells them what they want to hear while pretending that their unapologetic persistent bias isn't bias.  If someone's going to lie to me in order to feed my delusional ideological superiority complex, who am I going to prefer, the good liar or the bad one?  Pretending that they are "fair and balanced" is a key facet of their success, despite how utterly disingenuous it is to anyone with self-scrutiny and/or an intellectual pulse.

MSNBC's greatest failing is pretty obvious, they don't cover up their bias well enough.  I mean, MSNBC's latest slogan is a nod towards progressiveness for god's sake.  There are also a number of other factors against them:  target demographics of cable news skew conservative, America is a center-right country when it comes to the economically represented middle class (and thus the TV consumer pool), and they're a bit late to the game as Fox got the jump on everyone else by being the first news outlet to transition into this model.  I think if MSNBC wants to be successful they need to go more "moveon.org," work on their stonewalling skills, and adopt a slogan like "MSNBC:  integrity, truth, just the facts ma'am."

Some better commentators that appeal to the personality of liberals wouldn't hurt either, I think that's why Hannity's so successful, the guy comes off as a pro-family values boyscout, the perfect conservative male mascot.  That's another reason why Stewart's so successful with the liberal crowd, I think, it isn't just the way he expresses liberal ideas succinctly, it's that he does it in a fashion that liberals can respect.  Whereas even when my liberal friends agree with Olbermann, they usually think he's a douche.

Personally, watching MSNBC or Fox is a quick recipe for rage for me.  I've long thought what Koppel eloquently said about how the media has changed to sell justification for points of view and not information.  This is extremely dangerous because MSNBC and Fox are echo chambers where certain portions of America are being radicalized.  People are being fed twisted information in a way that makes their respective political party look guiltless on a grand scale, thus furthering their confidence in their own ideology.  In reality both political parties have their failings which are rooted in their ideologies.

Today the GOP does a terrible job of dealing with abuses of corporations (Enron, Wall Street, etc.), favors the social status quo even when that means inequality (opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Gay Marriage), and makes a point of regularly opposing scientific certitudes (evolution and global warming).  Free market fundamentalism, traditionalism, and an unwillingness to accept that there are some things that government has to do are responsible for this.

Democrats err in polar-opposite ways:  they put their faith in government to solve problems while proving why that's a bad idea unless it's necessary (supporting expansion of governmental responsibility while corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse run rampant in our bureaucratic processes and in their own party -- thank you Charlie Wrangle [not that I'm saying Republicans are less corrupt]), they seem to be practically incapable of cutting government programs (despite how much Obama talked this up before getting into office -- and lets face it, some things need to be cut), they pander to the majority of the country while not thinking too much about the rights of the outlying individual (health insurance mandate, tax the rich, et cetera), and their business policies largely make no sense (they want to tax them more, increase their regulatory burden, and impose harsher penalties for any untoward behavior, yet expect corporations not to move overseas -- yeah, that's totally consistent).

A middle of the road approach is the only way to moderate the extremes and actually get anything done which won't come back to bite us in the ass later (like deregulation has with the recent economic crisis and burgeoning social programs have with social security insolvency).  This is something the majority of the country seems to be aware of, at least if you consider the public's supposed interest in bipartisanship.  However, as long as the bases of the parties remain so radicalized (by Cable News, Talk Radio, etc.), this will probably never happen.  No one seems willing to accept that our politicians are a reflection of our failings because we choose to put them in power.  Washington's mess is our mess and our fault if you believe this country is still a Democracy.

If you don't, well... That's a gap of conspiratorial thinking that I don't know how to bridge.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2010, 09:08:59 PM by Jude »

Offline Bayushi

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #29 on: November 30, 2010, 09:02:31 PM »
Of course it's 10 billion times worse when the man behind the entire channel donates to partisan causes than when a partisan host does it.  Why?  Because a partisan host is known for being partisan, whereas a good portion of the Fox News Channel at least pretends to be non-partisan.  I'd say that's also where Fox's success largely comes from.

I believe the difference lies not in that Murdoch has more money or influence.

The difference, to my recollection, is that Olbermann actually has a show on Television. Rupert Murdoch is a faceless entity, where Olbermann has a so-called "News" show. Kind of like O'Reilly.

The problem is when these people on Television stump for a party or other political process using their show, while obviously biased towards that party or process enough to be a contributor.

I don't recall the commentator(possibly Chris Matthews), who got a "tingle down his leg" every time he heard Obama speak on the campaign trail. Can the bias get any more obvious?

Murdoch is free to use his personal money to support whatever he chooses. He is not a public figure, unlike Olbermann and other Television commentators.

Offline JudeTopic starter

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2010, 02:06:17 AM »
I definitely agree that Olbermann is out of line given that he never really comes out and admits his bias.  It's fairly obvious that it's there to most people, but for all I've seen of his show, I've never seem him professing the fact that he isn't impartial.

Matthews is the one who made the thrill up the leg comment, but he's also a lot less partisan than Olbermann is and admits to his connections to the Democratic Party.  He's a hell of a lot more honest than Ed Schultz or Keith.

Now Murdoch isn't a commentator, but he has a lot of influence over the programming on Fox.  No, he's not the talking head, but he pretty much decides what the supposed "hard news" people can and can't cover.  The one part of Fox that actually seems somewhat "fair and balanced" is basically ruled by Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch, and they're both in the tank for the Republican Party.  To me that makes his influence much more dangerous because he's specifically not a public person, so people won't see him as a source of bias.

Bias itself isn't dangerous unless it masquerades as neutrality, as Fox so lovingly does.

Offline Bayushi

Re: Ted Koppel: Olbermann, O'Reilly and the death of real news
« Reply #31 on: December 01, 2010, 02:30:22 AM »
Bias itself isn't dangerous unless it masquerades as neutrality, as Fox so lovingly does.

Don't get me wrong, Jude. I have no love whatsoever for Fox News.

But I detest MSNBC and the idiot talking heads they employ. Olbermann and Maddow especially.

As for Matthews, I don't hate him or like him. He's at least obvious who it is he's stumping for. Seems that everyone else claims to be fair and balanced, when they're anything but.