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SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITY

 


By Geoff Metcalf

January 18, 2005

NewsWithViews.com

Former Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and Louis Boccardi, former Associated Press President, presented their 'Independent Panel' report on the CBS scandal over what has become known as 'Rathergate'.

Four CBS employees, included three honchos were thrown over the side…Dan Rather dodged the bullet.

In the wake of the highly anticipated Thornburgh/Boccardi report much has been written.

However the CBS report is Band-Aid surgery for a metastasizing cancer. Thornburgh/Boccardi did their job…kinda. However, now the media 'suits' should appoint a committee to actually read what is being written about what did and didn't happen.

Dan Rather, Mary Mapes et al are symptoms of a dysfunction…not the Lone Ranger. The 'Rathergate' flap is but an example of what a freshman English Lit student could identify as a 'tragic flaw'.

A recent Gallup poll showed that, by almost three-to-one, Americans do not trust "the press".

A goodly amount of the commentary and punditry has been sparked by an unstated annoyance at Main Stream Media Bias and exacerbated by thinly veiled dislike for Dan Rather.

Some have prematurely hailed the 'death of big media', self inflicted mortal wounds that cannot and will not be healed. Maybe…maybe not!

Charles Krauthammer observed, "This is not an isolated case. In fact the case is a perfect illustration of an utterly commonplace phenomenon: the mainstream media's obliviousness to its own liberal bias." Denial survives… The Project for Excellence in Journalism conducted a study of mainstream media stories in September and October. Krauthammer notes, "The numbers are stunning."

"Percent of stories about Bush that are negative -- 59 percent. Percent of stories about Kerry that are negative -- 25 percent. Stories favorable to Bush? 14 percent. Favorable to Kerry? 34 percent…That is not a difference. That is a chasm."

Notwithstanding the CBS diffidence to crucify Rather, this latest mainstream half epiphany is an opportunity…an opportunity that could and should be exploited. Hey, if you are given lemons…make lemonade.

Despite the ebb and flow of the river 'Denial', most people (excluding broadcast executives and print publishers) accept as axiomatic that the main stream is tainted by a systemic liberal bias. That's a FACT Jack!

1 Peggy Noonan wrote a premature 'Requiem' for the Main Stream Media "After the Dan Rather scandal, American journalism will never be the same."
2 Howard Fineman wrote, CBS is 'just the tip of the iceberg'; his piece was titled 'The Media Party is over'.

Neither Noonan nor Fineman have to be right. This entire CBS excrement storm can and should be a catalyst to sea change. "If you build it, they WILL come…" said the ethereal baritone in 'Field of Dreams'.

For over a decade I have claimed the self-inflicted media wounds are basically a matter of physics. Nature abhors a vacuum. The mainstream created a vacuum by permitting their systemic liberal bias to taint and influence what they chose to offer as news and information.

A symbiotic joining of the Internet and Talk Radio filled the network created vacuum. Cable news joined to create a troika that was (and does) offer news and information the MSM is loath to provide.

In December I wrote "Actually, when news organizations pander to audiences, they are doing what they are supposed to do: build and maintain audience. As I have repeatedly noted, 'audience,' not the on air personalities or programming, is the 'product' that broadcasters sell."

The solution to the horrific erosion of audience and popular trust is for the network vacuum to be filled by the networks. This is the time for the network research wonks to arm the programmers with creating what the audience seeks (elsewhere).

Despite their warts, blemishes and tragic flaws, the networks still have extraordinary resources…and market penetration.

Dan Rather is counted a failure for delivering 'only' three times the audience the hugely successful Bill O'Reilly does. The most successful Fox News show is still about a million viewers behind Sponge Bob Square Pants.

The Main Stream Networks enjoy a monumental advantage in market penetration. However, either through hubris, myopia, or brain flatulence they fail to exploit that advantage. The Rathergate scandal should cause 'some' network executives to get hip (or get fired).

The networks don't have to reinvent themselves or copy Fox News. The solution to the dysfunction is not brain surgery or rocket science.

  • Zero tolerance for political prejudice. Regardless of race, creed, sex, or political affiliation, FIRE anyone who does not comply.
  • Mandatory 'balance'.
  • Raid the talent pool:
    o Hire Internet and Cable talent
    o Integrate elements of the Internet/Talk Radio symbiosis (and don't just poach marquee names who largely represent diametric opposite sycophants).
    o Seek out venues of news and information…not just loud voices.
  • Create new 'stars' instead of rearranging the deck chairs

If you build it…they WILL come….

© 2005 Geoff Metcalf - All Rights Reserved

E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale


"Geoff Metcalf is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host for TALK AMERICA and a veteran media performer. He has had an eclectic professional background covering a wide spectrum of radio, television, magazine, and newspapers. A former Green Beret and retired Army officer he is in great demand as a speaker. Visit Geoff's Web Site: www.geoffmetcalf.com. While you're at it - pick up a copy of Geoff's latest book!  E-mail: geoff@geoffmetcalf.com


 

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Notwithstanding the CBS diffidence to crucify Rather, this latest mainstream half epiphany is an opportunity…an opportunity that could and should be exploited. Hey, if you are given lemons…make lemonade.