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Reply #4: I am challenging the notion that media "only" caters to what the U.S. public wants. [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-19-12 08:41 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I am challenging the notion that media "only" caters to what the U.S. public wants.
Edited on Sun Feb-19-12 09:08 AM by No Elephants
IMO, "it ain't necessarily so."

For me personally, the OJ trial is a good example. I was working at home. While I worked, I always had the TV on, not really paying 100% attention, unless something caused my ears to perk up. But, I was lulled by my usual routine of daytime programming (which is pretty bad to begin with, IMO).

The first day of the OJ trial, I was very annoyed because all major networks had dropped regular programming.

I was not interested in watching the OJ from about 9 am West Coast time to about 5 or six pm East Coast time, with commentary on the trial filling in every moment when the trial was not on. (I live in Boston. I assume the West Coast got treated to the trial until the court recessed for the day.)

Yet, very literally from day one of the trial, networks claimed they were giving the trial that kind of coverage because of public demand.

The public had not had time to form an opinion on whether it preferred watching the trial all day to watching normal daytime programmiong, let alone express that to the industry and have the industry react to it in time to air minute one of the trial forward.

Huh? I don't recall a poll asking, "Do you want all your normal daytime programming terminated once the OJ trial starts?" (And, while I did not watch soaps, even as background noise, I doubt most daytime viewers would have said yes. In fact, after the first few days of the trial, networks were forced into airing soap episodes after midnight.)

IOW, I think the networks had simply decided to run coverage of the trial all day. However, on being questioned or challenged (or criticized), they claimed their decision had been dictated by public demand. And no one questioned that.

After days of being mildly annoyed, though, having the trial in the background becamse my routine and I got as addicted to that as I had been to my prior routine. But, my eventual "demand" for all day trial coverage had been created by the programming choice of the networks, not the other way around.

Do I think there was some conspiracy to run the OJ trial almost all day, every day, for some nefarious motive? No.

But I do think a lot of media activity that does not necessarily have a thing in the world to do with public demand is automatically attributed to public demand--and we don't challenge that premise.

I also question that the job of print media is to maximize sales, but that is a separate discussion and this post is already too long.
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