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  1. #1 Are Fox News and MSNBC Leading To a ‘Less-Informed But More Opinionated Public’? 
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    By Alex Weprin on December 30, 2010 2:25 PM

    Former CBS Marketwatch CEO Larry Kramer blogs about MSNBC and Fox News on his blog, C-Scape. In a nutshell, Kramer argues that today’s busy media consumer, lacking the time to dig in to issues themselves, instead relies on cognitive shortcuts to familiarize themselves with what the “correct” opinions are, based on their preexisting ideology.

    In Kramer’s opinion, Fox News and MSNBC are at the heart of this problem, which he says is “a bad thing for democracy” and leads to a “less-informed but more opinionated public.”

    It is, frankly, easier for someone to turn on either Fox News or MSNBC, listen to the frequent opinion expressed, right or left, and benchmark themselves against that opinion rather than forming their own opinion based on independent thinking.

    So if a new Supreme Court Justice was named tomorrow, more people would check out what Fox and MSNBC said about him or her, and then quickly decide whether or not they were in favor or opposed to approving the candidate. “If Fox (or MSNBC) like him, so do I,” a viewer can decide, (or the opposite) based totally on that viewer’s political stance and how it relates to Fox or MSNBC.

    Kramer is an incredibly smart and well-respected TV executive, but in this case he seems to miss the mark in at least two ways:

    First: the problem of opinion fragmentation and people going to outlets that reinforce their existing beliefs is hardly a new phenomenon. If the problem has gotten worse over the last few years, it is more likely to be due to the Internet than an ideological shift in TV news.

    The Web has thousands of politically and ideologically charged websites of every stripe, allowing people with similar tastes and opinions to get the news they are interested in, through the filter they find most palatable.

    This leads to the second point: most people in this country do not watch cable news.

    On any given weekday night in primetime, an average of around four million people watch MSNBC, Fox News and CNN combined. By comparison, approximately 80 million people watch TV in primetime on any given weekday.

    The top program on cable news this year was FNC’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” which was viewed by just over three million people on average.

    Even assuming that plenty of people don’t tune in every day but still watch occasionally, the actual number of regular TV viewers that watch any of the cable news channels is tiny compared to the vastly more popular entertainment and sports programming available across the dial.

    In other words, the viewership of cable news–while vocal and loyal–is probably too small to be directly responsible for a less-informed public. Apathy or the Internet are far more likely culprits, assuming you agree with Kramer’s supposition in the first place.


    http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/...-public_b45927
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoliCon View Post
    consumer, lacking the time to dig in to issues themselves, instead relies on cognitive shortcuts to familiarize themselves with what the “correct” opinions are, based on their preexisting ideology.
    Yes they do, and they assume that whomever their favorite news/opinion presenter has a consistent point of view. Then it starts to take on team dynamics, or perhaps more accurately to express the team dynamics which weren't evident when the news was being presented objectively.

    The real problem is that there is no announcement when they are switching from news to opinion, from fact to supposition. That's how you end up with people who sincerely believe that they know something, that that something has been validated by national news, and that it happens to be in agreement with their beliefs.

    Amy Goodman, who calls what she does "real news" or "free speech news" is a chief offender. I wanted to reach through the radio and strangle the bitch when she was in Haiti. Right off the bat, she as much as accused the US of seizing and occupying Haiti under the ruse of charity and rescue.
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    Did you bother to read to the end of the article?
    In other words, the viewership of cable news–while vocal and loyal–is probably too small to be directly responsible for a less-informed public. Apathy or the Internet are far more likely culprits, assuming you agree with Kramer’s supposition in the first place.
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    So if a new Supreme Court Justice was named tomorrow, more people would check out what Fox and MSNBC said about him or her, and then quickly decide whether or not they were in favor or opposed to approving the candidate. “If Fox (or MSNBC) like him, so do I,” a viewer can decide, (or the opposite) based totally on that viewer’s political stance and how it relates to Fox or MSNBC.
    As opposed to the former legacy, ABC networks who "gave" viewers their opinions?
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    Absolutely. Most people I talk to are nonpoliticAl but most ofthe political types seem to rely on cable news or their online variants and are extremely confident and ready to aggressively argue something they know very little about. Also, people seem to believe that t's better to "hold your ground" in a discussion, thinking that admitting ignorance or giving oneself a chance to learn is some sign of weakness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    Absolutely. Most people I talk to are nonpoliticAl but most ofthe political types seem to rely on cable news or their online variants and are extremely confident and ready to aggressively argue something they know very little about. Also, people seem to believe that t's better to "hold your ground" in a discussion, thinking that admitting ignorance or giving oneself a chance to learn is some sign of weakness.
    Please send this to Stupidicus in a PM:eek:
    Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
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    Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    Absolutely. Most people I talk to are nonpoliticAl but most ofthe political types seem to rely on cable news or their online variants and are extremely confident and ready to aggressively argue something they know very little about. Also, people seem to believe that t's better to "hold your ground" in a discussion, thinking that admitting ignorance or giving oneself a chance to learn is some sign of weakness.
    I actually agree with this. Every Democrat I know has an extreme viewpoint...and none of them read, they all watch MSNBC or CNN, or quote some comedian for their news source. On the other hand, every thoughtful person I know that reads and studies the issues votes Republican.
    -
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    In actual dollars, President Obama’s $4.4 trillion in deficit spending in just three years is 37 percent higher than the previous record of $3.2 trillion (held by President George W. Bush) in deficit spending for an entire presidency. It’s no small feat to demolish an 8-year record in just 3 years.

    Under Obama’s own projections, interest payments on the debt are on course to triple from 2010 (his first budgetary year) to 2018, climbing from $196 billion to $685 billion annually.
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    I could not say one way or another on this since you could count the annual cumulative hours I see Fox, MSNBC,CNN or non cable national news on one hand with fingers to spare.

    I have yet to see any talking head network that does not spin the facts of any situation to fall in line with their demographics.
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    The unbiased media is a myth. From the very birth of this country the media has been biased and rightfully so. News papers during the War for independence all had either a Tory or a patriot slant to their news coverage. During the Civil War Lincoln shut down papers that did were pro-south. During WWI and WWII news media was expected to support the US war effort and were barred from running stories that would have been damaging to that effort.

    I'm left wondering how the myth of the unbiased media came to be in the first place. Did it first come to play during the Vietnam era? Was it perpetrated to disguise the blatant bias of the media towards the left in their coverage of the Vietnam war? Or does it go back to Korea? Either way - I'm inclined to believe that should we trace the roots of the claim there will be communist sympathizers at the heart . . . .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    Absolutely. Most people I talk to are nonpoliticAl but most ofthe political types seem to rely on cable news or their online variants and are extremely confident and ready to aggressively argue something they know very little about. Also, people seem to believe that t's better to "hold your ground" in a discussion, thinking that admitting ignorance or giving oneself a chance to learn is some sign of weakness.
    I find myself in agreement here. Given the choice, most people would rather win an argument than get the facts right.

    Quote Originally Posted by MrsSmith View Post
    I actually agree with this. Every Democrat I know has an extreme viewpoint...and none of them read, they all watch MSNBC or CNN, or quote some comedian for their news source. On the other hand, every thoughtful person I know that reads and studies the issues votes Republican.
    And yet isn't it strange that we Republicans are regarded as the stupid party; the ones who are uninformed, and easily duped by the evil Republican leaders.
    Last edited by Starbuck; 01-02-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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