Posted by: bburatti | November 13, 2011

Breaking News Coverage

McChesney demonizes big media as completely profit driven.  In the context of conversations in the boardrooms and Congressional lobbying lunches, I would agree. However, it’s important to distinguish between corporate ownerships and the work of journalists in the trenches.

I’m watching the live coverage of the removal of the Occupy Portland camp. News crews are on the front lines. Every television station stayed on live all night long, airing no commercials.  McChesney never acknowledges that local stations routinely provide continuous news coverage at the cost of tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Nobody makes money on breaking news.  The profits in big media are made on entertainment content and the distribution of product. That won’t change. It’s localism that’s at risk.

At the same time, protesters have their own cameras and cell phones documenting the event. They’ll post them to social media sites and on YouTube, representing multiple points of view and experiences. The whole world really is watching. McChesney asks if the Internet will erode the consolidation of big media. I don’t think so. It will bring new players to the table. We’ve already seen that with YouTube and Twitter. Traditional big media’s ability to exclusively control the conversation is waning.

McChesney makes the point that the U.S. lacks a strong Left movement. He bemoans the absence of a media voice for the Left. We’re seeing the beginnings of a meaningful movement that’s engaging Americans in real conversation about both politics and how stories are covered.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Do you think that a large corporation would provide a more liberal point of view if they thought it was profitable?  An example is MSNBC’s prime time which has a definite liberal slant. Do you think they’re only doing this to create an alternative to Fox and CNN to attract a distinct and salable audience?
  2. McChesney argues that big media “ignores, trivializes or demonizes social movements.” How do you view the national and local coverage of the Occupy Movement in this context? Do you see any differences between media outlets, national or local, in how they’ve treated the story?
  3. Does the Left need a PR firm?
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