General Question

dabbler's avatar

What's the story ? Does mass media news need fixing?

Asked by dabbler (18412points) April 29th, 2011

Does the concentration of media in fewer and fewer hands concern you? Do you feel you get enough correct information about issues that concern you? Are there ways to encourage better new coverage and less info-tainment on “news” programs ?
What should be the government’s role in regulating or supplementing mass media and news in particular ?
What are news outlets that you like that are heavy on info and light on *tainment ?

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21 Answers

iamthemob's avatar


This is a question? ;-)


wundayatta's avatar

I think that the internet has deconcentrated the media. More and more voices can be heard. I think that the system—if it needs fixing—will fix itself.

iamthemob's avatar

@wundayatta – I think there’s potential in the internet – however, much of what people post independently is derived from the mass media sources.

I do like the citizen journalism movement.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, you can encourage more news by not watching infotainment.

I like NPR.

Ladymia69's avatar

I am partial to BBC News and other foreign news sources. That way, you get the whole partisan thing out of the way. And I get tired of what passes for “news” in this country.

Nullo's avatar

There are two major problems in modern news coverage: personal interest, and public interest. The former gives us biased reporters (all journalists do it, even if they don’t realize it), the second keeps the news from veering away from what people are interested in; the purpose of the news is to keep people glued to the ‘tube for the ad segments. In newspapers, we have the so-called “news hole,” the space left for actual news once the ads have been placed.

We can’t ever really fix biased reporting, because the problem lies deep within the minds of the reporters themselves.
The other problem is similarly difficult to fix. The news agency has bills to pay, or you get no news; yet taking money from anyone is tantamount to handing them your puppet strings. Your best bet would be for the news media to be supported by wholly-uninterested parties – which don’t exist, because (thanks to a sort of feedback effect) the news is a powerful opinion-shaping tool.

Jaxk's avatar

First, the idea of government regulating or controlling news content is abhorrent to me. I’d rather get my news from Daffy Duck than the government. If you don’t think your getting the straight story from your news medium, change it. I see no problem. There are more sources for news now than there ever were.

I suspect this question is really a not so veiled attempt to get the liberals screaming about Fox News. Go for it. The incessant ranting about Fox has brought more listeners to it than they could have ever achieved otherwise.

zenvelo's avatar

@Jaxk Two years ago i would have ranted about Fox, now it’s all of them. They all have a bias one way of another. The fairness doctrine did impose some control over the bias of the TV stations.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think we will ever go back to laws requiring balanced journalism. I think maybe there should be a law regulating what can be called news, or balanced, or not sure exactly how to word it. What a want is shows that are hosted by someone who obviously leans a certain way and tells the viewers their opinions should not be called news, I wish they would not be considered journalists. Journalist seems to imply both sides are being presented, when really balanced journalism is when that happens. The people on these rather ones sided political shows are entertainers more than journalists I think.

@Jaxk The problem is the people who think they are watching something balanced when it blatantly isn’t, and they never seek to hear the opposing views. I think this on both sides, I am not coming after Fox News. The only problem I have with Fox News is they have News as their channel name, which goes back to the first part of my response.

RareDenver's avatar

I love Fox News. It’s the funniest thing ever For actual news though I tend to go to the BBC, no advertisers paying their bills.

Jaxk's avatar


I think you may be nitpicking. There is a clear distinction between news and commentary. Hell the NY Times calls themselves a NEWSpaper yet they have editorials. Frankly these commentaries serve a good purpose as long as you now they are commentaries.

When the President gives a speech, I guarantee that’s commentary, yet it is covered on all the NEWS channels. Keeping up with political events is an arduous task. People tend to listen to people they trust whether it be Jon Stewart or Bill O’Reilly. Shows like ‘Saturday Night Live’ shape political opinions as much as news. Knowing that Jon Stewart is a comedian doesn’t stop people from voting for him as the most trusted name in NEWS.

Unfortunately we’ve got what we’ve got. Generally people don’t shape thier opinion based on the commentary so much as the commentary agrees with thier opinion. IMHO

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk John Stewart is on Comedy Central. Although he does bring political information to the forefront, he does not claim to be a newsman, and half his show is tongue amd cheek. I hate to say that people who read the New York Times probably know the difference between news and commentary, and I don’t say that because it tends to be liberal, because plenty of Republicans are reading that paper. I say that because the audience is probaby more educated and worldy. Too many people watch those commentary shows and think it is balanced when it is not close. Too many people do not know better in my opinion, and so they never turn the channel.

I rarely watch Fox news, and I want to hear the right speak. I choose to watch more balanced shows like Morning Joe, Meet the Press, and some others. Although, the last two months I have been on a politics hiatus.

Plus, newspaper to me is dofferent than news channel. But, your point is a good one, the newpaper has everything from reporting on wars to comic strips, why not news tv?

Jaxk's avatar


I think you do the general public a disserive. Nobody watches Racheal Mdow and thinks. it’s balanced. Likewise nobody watches Sean Hannity and thinks it’s balanced. Nor do they claim to be news. They claim to be opinion shows. I think you issue is that too many people agree with them and you think itt is because they were tricked. They weren’t. They simply agree with the ideology. That’s why Jon Stewart was voted the most trusted man in news (actually tied for fourth), because a lot of people agreed with his liberal ideology, not because they were tricked into thinking he a fair and balanced reporter.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jaxk I don’t think they are tricked, or that Fox news for instance is purposely trying to trick anyone. I think many Americans like to talk to/at people who agree with themselves, and to listen to people who agree also.

Aethelwine's avatar

I agree with you @Jaxk. Rachael Maddow is just as bad as Hannity. I hate it when the actual newscasters are lumped in with the commentary/opinion shows. Fox news gets a bad rap because of this. Not everyone that watches Fox is a mindless idiot that believes everything Hannity and O’Reilly spews, and they know the difference between opinion and news. I voted for Clinton, Gore and Kerry, yet I watch Fox because I like Cavuto, Kelly and Smith.

JLeslie's avatar

I hate Maddow too. Hard for me to watch her show, I don’t get why people like her so much. I saw Pat Buchanan on her show once, and I thought she was awful to him. Everything he said was logical, and she tried to twist it, I hate that.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie I know we’ve had this discussion before. It’s hard to believe Buchanan can be logical. ;)

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond They were both giving stats on supreme court justices throughout history. She was going on about how few have been minorities, and he pointed out minorities back in the day had little chance of a law degree, so it is not so much there were bunches of qualified people and the minorites just weren’t selected. He’s right, it was the circumstance of the time based on qualifications. The stat means nothing when you look back 100–200 years.

mattbrowne's avatar

CNN was great 20 years ago. Today it’s like a tabloid. CNN International is still okay, because the target audience is business travelers and intellectuals with English as their second language interested in different news.

The story of mass media is profit and shareholder value. Tabloid-style news are in demand.

I’m glad there’s still public radio and television. In Germany we have about 20 public tv channels and more than 100 private ones.

iamthemob's avatar

@mattbrowne – Do you think that has to do with the fact that CNN used to be, essentially, the only network on a 24-hour news cycle?

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