Truthful Tuesday for 7/12/22: It’s Just Business

What the hell, might as well play this game, too… Melanie asks the musical question…

What is your honest opinion of the news and how it is shared right now? Are we being informed or fed Pablum designed to keep us uninformed and in the dark?

Mary took a class in journalism in high school. During the first class, the teacher asked "What is the job of the newspaper?" Mary was the only person in the class to answer correctly: "To sell newspapers!"

News organizations (my term for members of the news media, of which newspapers are part) are businesses. The decisions they make about what goes into their product are business decisions. Their aim is to grow their audience and their advertising revenue, and to avoid losing either. So, they don’t run news stories that piss off their audience, lest they lose readers/listeners/viewers. They also don’t run stories that piss off their advertisers, lest the advertisers take their business elsewhere.

Advertisers also take a dim view of members of an audience (i.e. pressure groups) threaten to boycott their products unless they stop advertising with a certain news organization. The advertisers then threaten the news organization with pulling their advertising dollars unless the demands of the audience group are met (usually to terminate a persomality who has offended their delicate sensibilities).

Let’s not forget the government, at all levels. They aren’t an advertiser, but they can use other methods to pressure news organizations, such as denying them access to certain important politicians or bureaucrats, loss of credentials, legal harassment etc. The same can be said of the plutocrats that would prefer their activities not be revealed on the evening news.

And finally, let’s not forget the biases within the news organization itself. Editors might want certain subjects presented in ways that express their approval or disapproval. They might want to emphasize some stories and de-emphasize others.

In short, major news organizations are under a tremendous amount of pressure to present the news in a manner that their various stakeholders will approve of — the consumer of the news, the person expecting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, be damned.

Hope that answered your question…

14 thoughts on “Truthful Tuesday for 7/12/22: It’s Just Business

    1. Oh, I like material stuff as much as the next guy, but I miss the honesty of a truly free press, and like I told Laura, I want to see all the information and make up my own mind, even things that are considered “conspiracy theories,” especially with their propensity to prove to be correct…

      Like

  1. Hm, I took some journalism classes as well even though I had a creative fiction concentration in grad school. True, they have to sell advertising and sell newspapers, but there certainly was the romantic ideal of being the gadfly, asking the hard questions of government particularly– regardless of political persuasion. That is pretty much dead. Fox does it best, but they still often have certain topics off limits (like election integrity) due to owners’ narrative goals. And they mostly have opinion hosts as well. Very frustrating — combine that with certain viewpoints on things like the virus –actually censored in most mainstream media and/or big tech– and we are in troubled times. (Oh, and a bit off-topic, universities will only publish one point of view now–mostly always did). First thing totalitarians do is control the media.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ideally, news sources would report the news wothout regard for who gets upset. Problem is that we now have people and organizations in this country who are so wealthy and so powerful that they can destroy someone who writes something that offends them. Couple that with reporters and editors who have their own agenda and social media vigilantes who are willing to do the bidding of all of the above, and they can make a journalist’s life a living hell. A lot of people who would consider journalism for a career who maybe have an independent streak look at the state of the profession and decide to be accountants instead…

      Like

You can use Markdown in your comments. Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s