Thursday, May 05, 2011

Why does paper X publish always-wrong pundit Y?

Because he says what their millionaire owners and advertisers want to hear. Duh. It's called "capitalism", as in, "serves capital, not the public." The notion of the press as watchdog is a fairly recent one, and itself was manufactured by the same media owners. Before recent times, it was widely accepted that the press served its owners, not the public, and newspapers generally wore their biases and affiliations on their sleeve in much the same way the UK press still does (so you have the blatantly socialist Independent, the blatantly Tory Times, the blatantly Labour Guardian, and so forth). I must say that the PR effort has been fairly successful in producing the notion that the press *should* serve the public, but that's never been the primary purpose of the press, ever, in this nation's history. The first purpose of the press has always been to serve its owners, the second purpose has always been to serve its advertisers, anything else is just gravy used to sell newspapers or get people to watch television or etc.

So the question you should ask, when you see, e.g., nearly-always-wrong Thomas Friedman (of the famed Friedman Unit) published in the NYT, "In what way does publishing Friedman serve the interests of the New York Times' owners and advertisers?" Insofar as publishing him helps promote views that benefit them, why *should* they care that what Friedman serves up is a bitter stew of straw? Does it drive away readers? No, they just go on to read Krugman. So what's the *downside* to publishing Friedman, for the owners and advertisers of the New York Times?

-- Badtux the News Penguin

1 comment:

  1. Did you know Mr. savvy P. that the term 'yellow journalism' came from observing parrots reading the NYT at the bottom of their cage?


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