The decline and fall of the Mainstream Media’s empire

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We’ve all seen the death-spiral stories over the last few years revealing the migration of readers, viewers and advertisers away from daily newspapers and TV broadcasters.

The reaction of most media executives and writers is to blame the internet and online publishers for reduced circulation, with their “free” news outlets and “free” classifieds.

Even the online ad growth of most newspapers is dwarfed by the loss of ads on the print side. An editor of a Boston Newspaper commented on this, stating “It’s the Internet. It’s all the choices people have for their time.” But the internet is a convenient whipping-boy, a tree to bark up by news executives who refuse to accept responsibility. In truth, the internet is merely supplying content that disaffected readers and viewers are demanding but not receiving from the “old” media.

Here’s an old quote on this issue from veteran newspaper analyst John Morton:  “This (problem with declining circulation) began long before the Internet was even invented. It’s merely been exacerbated by the Internet.”

There is truth in the statements that the internet is a problem, but there is a deeper truth that is ignored, which is that large swaths of the populace are not getting what they want from mainstream media and TV (MSM). This is the 800 lb. gorilla that no one in the news and editorial rooms seems to want to recognize: too many readers/viewers aren’t getting what they want. And many believe that what they are getting is tainted by bias. They believe they are force-fed opinions and commentary when what they want is unvarnished news. They want Walter Cronkite truth, not Rachel Maddow drivel. When people don’t get what they want under the Law of Supply and Demand, they go elsewhere. The evidence is conclusive:  newspaper circulation is plummeting and TV viewing is shifting, and a big reason is that too many people are not interested in what’s being served up.

Some TV and radio companies successfully solved this growing problem by making available significant numbers of “conservative” voices, at the touch of the dial. Look at the ascendancy of top-rated Fox News and the popularity of Rush Limbaugh, who is the most listened-to political commentator in the country.

Especially here in southeast Florida, major segments of this region’s readers/viewers don’t get enough of what they want from the Palm Beach Post, the Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the MSM TV broadcasters. Specifically, political conservatives are starved for reading and viewing content that interests them.   My estimate is that roughly 35% to 45% of potential south Florida readers are conservative, ranging from “conservative-light” to deep conservative. If those percentages are high, I am absolutely certain that 30% to 40% is accurate. That’s a huge segment of the regional population for any newspaper or broadcaster to avoid catering to.

Here is what the “conservative” reader, and most active business leaders believe about most MSM news outlets:

  • A liberal bias creeps into the selection of story topics and the selection of interviewees and quotes by MSM reporters and editorial writers.
  • Every newsworthy story offers the reporter a variety of “takes” or “approaches” that the reporter can select for how the story will be treated. Most news reporters tilt or slant their “take” on a story to suit their bias. Much more often than not, their bias is toward the left. Too often, they offer commentary and opinion in place of objective news reporting.
  • The vast bulk of MSM writers and editors are liberal, and pro-Democrat.
  • Most editorials of most media outlets end up collectively as boosterism for the leftist worldview, conservatives believe. Sometimes the dose of boosterism is light, sometimes its heavy, but the leftist booster thread runs through most news.
  • MSM writers are as much subjective as objective, but they pretend otherwise. Editors who claim their content is balanced and fair, are in practice biased and leftist.
  • Many newspapers keep stale news on the front page if it boosts their political and social worldview, and the MSM ignores or buries news that conflicts with that worldview.

Bias exists in the MSM, even though they deny it. This is what has caused the profound distrust of the mainstream media’s objectivity and the journalistic death spiral they face.

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.

John R. Smith GET AUTHOR RSS FEED

John R. Smith is chairman of BIZPAC, the Business Political Action Committee of Palm Beach County, and owner of a financial services company. He is a frequent columnist for BizPac Review.
John R. Smith

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