People Want Substance – Media Dishes Scandal

A report published by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reveals the gaping divergence between the issues of interest to the American people and those covered by the media.

According to the survey, Americans were most interested in the economy (23%), but the press coverage of that issue amounted to less than half that (11%). Completely flipping those numbers around, only 13% of the country was interested in the Anthony Weiner story, but the press devoted 17% of their time to it – more than any other story.

When asked about the amount of coverage of various stories, 63% of respondents said that the Weiner story received too much coverage. Only 7% said that it received too little. Even a majority of Republicans (58%) said that there was too much press attention on Weiner. These numbers, by the way, were nearly identical to those regarding the Sarah Palin bus trip with 58% saying that it had been over covered, including 52% of Republicans.

If you ever wondered why the pressing problems of the day are not being resolved, or even seriously considered, it’s because the media so dependably ignores the issues about which the people are most concerned. And even when they do approach serious subjects they often trivialize them by focusing on tangents like Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, or distort them with partisan special interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Tea Party.

This is why the conventional media is losing ground daily to new media, where news consumers can seek out the information they want. And the folks at CNN, Fox, NBC, etc., can expect this trend to continue as long as they favor salacious trivialities over the issues that the American people regard as important.


3 thoughts on “People Want Substance – Media Dishes Scandal

  1. I was particularly amused when, late last week, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell sighed before lamenting that, in light of further developments, he had no choice but to continue covering the Weiner story. And it was especially ripe when he quoted that gangster creed from the Sopranos: “just when I think I’m out they drag me back in.”

    Of course he could have ignored the issue or at least skipped the non-salient aspects. Media Matters has excluded it from consideration (much to the consternation of the trolls) in favor of what, uh, actually matters. I wonder, were he still on that network, what Olbermann would have done. No doubt simply concentrate on the political implications, recommending that Weiner resign and immediately run again, which I consider sound advice. Unless, of course, the bigwigs are forcing the anchors to push it, as they did with the Lewinsky affair.

  2. The core mission of the mainstream media is twofold:

    1. Make money for their owners (by selling advertising and persuading people that they need to borrow and buy, borrow and buy; and

    2. Push the political and economic agenda of their owners (facilitating the march of wealth to the top) by amusing the “electorate” with trivia so they don’t look too closely at the ways their corporate masters manipulate public policy (via the courts, lobbying, and the revolving doors of government agencies) behind the curtain.

    But of course, you know all that!

  3. I would like to think that Keith would hit it the one time and move on. He now has more control so we’ll see soon.

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