Saturday, January 28, 2017

MSM as Infomercial

Former Breitbart editor and White House policy advisor Steve Bannon recently told the old media to "shut up and listen more" or words to that effect. Lots of press agonizing about this expression of good sense suggests a translation is needed.

The press cannot literally "shut up" as that would require them to go out of business, which Bannon was not suggesting. Given how badly they missed the outcome of the recent election, listening more is obviously needed. The collective reportorial failure of the old media to sense the 2016 election outcome was both massive and unprecedented.

The "shut up" comment was twofold. Firstly, you can't listen while talking, and more listening is overwhelmingly indicated. Secondly, Bannon was suggesting less telling people "how" to interpret events.

He prescribed more emphasis on what, who, when, and where, and less "spinning" of why. More reporting, less editorializing; more news, less opinion. His boss is making plenty of news, it needs reporting.

We Americans are past masters at ignoring commercials and sales pitches, we get so much practice. If the old media chooses to become not a source of information but instead an progressive infomercial, they shouldn't be surprised if readership and viewship go in the toilet.