Tag Archives | Cable News

Is Following The News Bad For You?

too much newsAs they say, the medium is the message, and the 24-hour breaking news cycle may be degrading your mind and your life. Via the Guardian, Rolf Dobelli argues thus:

News is bad for your health. It leads to fear and aggression, and hinders your creativity and ability to think deeply.

News misleads. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated.

News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. The physical structure of the brain changes.

News makes us passive.

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Major Media Outlets Supporting SOPA, Have Not Reported On It

internetThe major news networks apparently feel that the controversial proposed Stop Online Piracy Act is an important piece of legislation — the parent companies are all working to ensure its passage. Strange, then, that there has been no on air mention of the bill. Media Matters writes:

Most major television news outlets — MSNBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and NBC — have ignored the bill during their evening broadcasts. One network, CNN, devoted a single evening segment to it.

The parent companies of most of these networks, as well as two of the networks themselves, are listed as official “supporters” of this legislation on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website.

New York Times media columnist David Carr, who described the legislation as “alarming in its reach,” explained in a column earlier this week that “digitally oriented companies see SOPA as dangerous and potentially destructive to the open Web and a step toward the kind of intrusive Internet regulation that has made China a global villain to citizens of the Web.” Google co-founder Sergey Brin has warned that the legislation “would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world.”

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How ‘Experts’ Are Used in News

The Sun Norway's 9/11Charlie Brooker’s take on how news ‘experts’ are doing little more than guessing, which is more or less what we could do, in the Guardian:

I went to bed in a terrible world and awoke inside a worse one. At the time of writing, details of the Norwegian atrocity are still emerging, although the identity of the perpetrator has now been confirmed and his motivation seems increasingly clear: a far-right anti-Muslim extremist who despised the ruling party.

Presumably he wanted to make a name for himself, which is why I won’t identify him. His name deserves to be forgotten. Discarded. Deleted. Labels like “madman”, “monster”, or “maniac” won’t do, either. There’s a perverse glorification in terms like that. If the media’s going to call him anything, it should call him pathetic; a nothing.

On Friday night’s news, they were calling him something else. He was a suspected terror cell with probable links to al-Qaida …

Read more here and those of you who like a bit of Brooker should check out his shows, Screenwipe and Newswipe.… Read the rest

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Which ‘Expert’ Pundits Make Accurate Predictions?

W&WWondering which political pundits are actually smart and which are full of hot air? Now we know (maybe).

The New York Times‘s Paul Krugman is a modern-day Nostradamus — his predictions (usually concerning the economy) almost always come true. At the other end of the spectrum, if mustachioed conservative columnist and Fox News “expert” Cal Thomas says something is going to happen, it is almost certain that the opposite will occur. All this is thanks to a study concocted at Hamilton College:

Op-ed columnists and TV’s talking heads build followings by making bold, confident predictions about politics and the economy. But rarely are their predictions analyzed for accuracy.

Now, five Hamilton College seniors led by public policy professor P. Gary Wyckoff have analyzed the predictions of 26 prognosticators, sampled the predictions of 26 individuals who wrote columns in major print media and who appeared on the three major Sunday news shows – Face the Nation, Meet the Press, and This Week – and evaluated the accuracy of 472 predictions made during the 16-month period.

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Roger Ailes Bombproofed The Fox News Headquarters, Fearing Gay Terror Attacks

mainRolling Stone‘s long piece on the evil mastermind is filled with all sorts of joyous nuggets, including the above. Additionally, an underground bunker called the “brain room” — with special security clearance needed for entrance — acts as a research center in which the cable network’s most fiendishly clever plans are developed:

Murdoch installed ailes in the corner office on Fox’s second floor at 1211 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan. The location made Ailes queasy: It was close to the street, and he lived in fear that gay activists would try to attack him in retaliation over his hostility to gay rights. (In 1989, Ailes had broken up a protest of a Rudy Giuliani speech by gay activists, grabbing demonstrator by the throat and shoving him out the door.) Barricading himself behind a massive mahogany desk, Ailes insisted on having “bombproof glass” installed in the windows – even going so far as to personally inspect samples of high-tech plexiglass, as though he were picking out new carpet.

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Fox News & Bill O’Reilly Are America’s Most Trusted News Sources

Bill O'Reilly / Fox NewsPaul Bedard reports in U.S. News & World Report:

In a stunning rejection of network news and nightly news anchors, cable news, driven by the Fox News Channel and mouthy Bill O’Reilly, is now the top most trusted source—by a mile.

In a new poll from Boston’s Suffolk University (PDF), more than a quarter of the nation says Fox is tops when it comes to who they trust the most and O’Reilly is the most believable.

“This poll shows two things: first, the network news have completely lost their brand. Second, the only network with any intensity is Fox News,” says Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center. “Bottom line: the more they attack Fox, the stronger it is getting,” he adds.

But at the liberal Media Matters, Executive Vice President Ari Rabin-Havt says the public’s trust in Fox is disturbing. A regular Fox critic, he says the poll reveals that “Fox News viewers trust the information that Fox gives them.”

The key finding in the telephone poll of 1,070 likely voters is that network news is dying.

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Why Facts No Longer Matter In The Media Discourse

birthHow should we understand this latest and most troubling insight into the reality of our media ecology?

In the aftermath of the resolution of the Great Birther bash-up, even as President Obama tried to lay the issue at rest by producing the document that showed, proved, verified, documented, and validated his birth in one of the great states of our disunion, it was said that its release would only fuel more debate, and convince no one.

In other words, in the end, this long debated fact didn’t matter.

Facts no longer seem to matter on other issues, too, as articulated in the now infamous memo issued by retiring Senator Jon Kyle whose office, when confronted with evidence that he misspoke on the matter of how much money Planned Parenthood spent on abortions—he claimed 90%, the truth was but 3%—issued an advisory that said, “The statement was not meant to be factual.”

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a lot of fun with that but one thing that’s not funny is that even when media coverage discredits or exposes some canard, public opinion is not necessarily impacted.… Read the rest

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CNN Sending Eight Times More Staff To Prince William’s Wedding Than To Japan

largeAh, cable news. 2011 has brought a wealth of incredible, transformative, and tragic events around the globe, but the mainstream media will have to hold off on covering that until after royal wedding season. The Atlantic Wire notes the figure, mentioned in passing in a Wall Street Journal story:

This crazy statistic comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Chozick and Cecile Rohwedder, who discovered, as proof of the media madness that will be Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, “CNN alone will have a team of roughly 400 reporters, cameramen and crew assigned to the wedding.” To compare: A group of just 50 CNN employees, one-eighth the size of the anticipated wedding fleet, are currently on the ground in Japan covering the aftermath of the earthquake and the continuing nuclear containment problem.

CNN isn’t the only network with such disproportionately big plans for the royal wedding. On the day of the earthquake, Technolayer reported that NBC News sent four anchors and correspondents to join the staff at its Tokyo Bureau.

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Fox News To Fire Glenn Beck?

Glenn Beck at CPAC 2010. Photo: Gage Skidmore CC

Photo: Gage Skidmore (CC)

The Week dissects a David Carr piece in the New York Times and comes to the conclusion that “the cable news giant may part ways with the conservative firebrand at the end of the year”:

Glenn Beck is obsessed with the coming apocalypse, but the real end times on the horizon may be for his nightly show on Fox News, reports David Carr at The New York Times. Senior Fox News executives tell Carr that the network is “looking at the end of [Beck's] contract in December and contemplating life without [him].”

Why? The conspiracy theorist has lost a third of his audience since last year, particularly in the younger demographic; he has drawn the ire of conservatives like William Kristol, and, says Carr, his show has “turned into a serial doomsday machine that’s a bummer to watch.” Could Fox News really be preparing to part ways with Beck?

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