Tuesday, July 17, 2007

On the Media

If you haven't seen this video, where t.v. anchor, Mika Brzezinski, burns the Paris Hilton story, it's worth a look. I think the video is instructive for a variety of reasons.

People often forget that the media is a business. There is a certain ethic by which journalists are supposed to conduct themselves created to help guide their decision making. But in the end the people who sign their paychecks are businessmen and women. As such, the decisions made by those responsible for content is often driven by those who do the viewing.

This past weekend I had a conversation with a family member about Gary Sheffield's most recent idiotic remarks. This family member blamed the media for publicizing Sheffield's views despite his history of misguided and wrong-minded statements. I agreed with him that the weight given to Sheffield's statements may have been excessive but the truth is that the public have an appetite for this type of hyperbole. Furthermore the media has a responsibility to deliver public statements made by public figures to the public. It would be far more egregious for media outlets to withhold newsworthy stories because they don't jive with the sensibilities of certain people or could offend others.

There is little doubt that Joe Torre is an innocent bystander. Many black players have played and thrived under Torre, and until reputable individuals like Cecil Fielder or Chili Davis come forward and corroborate Sheffield's views, I think they're nonsense. However, that does not make his views a non-story.

Joe Torre is a public figure and when an individual places himself in the public eye he is subject to the scrutiny of those that hold public interest (I made a bet with a friend about how many times I could write "public" in a single post), however unfair that scrutiny may be.

And in the end the public (I win) has no one to blame but themselves for the news they/we choose to consume.

A couple of programming notes: In the Musicology post, I mentioned a conversation I had with a professor where we discussed alt-country and the bands Wilco and Son Volt. Shortly thereafter I discussed an essay in Chuck Klosterman's IV. What I did not realize (but have now that I've finished the book) is that in the last chapter Klosterman references alt-country and then Wilco and Son-Volt specifically. This is a strange coincidence (although more strange that he would mention alt-country than Wilco and Son Volt in reference to alt-country), but one I wanted to mention to clear my good name. Also, I will be repeating my chronicles of lone drinking tomorrow (Wednesday) evening and should have a post up sometime around noon on Thursday, hope to see you then. Finally, if you haven't seen Maddox's most recent post, I highly recommend you do so now, it's so choice.

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