Thursday, May 1, 2008

"News" is only marketing, actually. Big surprise, huh?

What goes for "News" is and has always been Marketing - just very, very bad marketing.

Let's be transparent from the outset. Statistically, people trust the news just above lawyers and used car salesmen, and less than Congress. True - look it up. (Pew had these studies, I believe...)

Why does news exist - what keeps it going? Selling advertising.

The news is built on addicting viewers to their brand. The tactics are similar to any bad marketing - appeal the the basest motives and keep people emotionally involved.

The news (despite the twist "Journalism" studies give it in Academia) is there to get viewers and to sell advertising. That's it.

Why do movie stars make such "good press"? Because in different movies, they emotionally involved the viewer - so that viewer now wants the salient details about their private lives, to compare with their own. See if life for them in reality is as bad as some of us have it.

Could we live without all the negative comments for that half-hour every evening (and for 5 minutes every half-hour on the radio? Sure.

Since when has any (that's ANY) broadcast news anchor ever been actually 100% factual and impartial?

Let's see... never. Why do Academia hype their Journalistic Code and whatnot? To sell students on being a journalist (and paying hefty fees in books, courses, athletic fees, and whatnot - like student parking). Colleges (and universities) are in a for-profit business. Sure, it's rife with government handouts - which means they get to do really poor work with guaranteed job security... (Ok, we'll leave our rant on governments out of this for the moment.)

Look, most all Marketing - good or bad - is based on an emotional appeal. News only continues with subscribers because they are emotionally involved with the subjects these "news" anchors dredge up. And if they can show that they have more viewers in a given period, they can attract more and higher-paying advertisers.

But people know they are full of it. They know newscasters slant everything they touch. Most of it is left-leaning so far they need crutches to walk with and seat belts on their chairs.

OK, enough of the rant.

The reason for this note is to simply tell you what to watch/read/listen to if you want to see examples of really, truly bad marketing at work. The result is a failure of trust. All marketing is built on mutual trust. When Congress, the President, all media, lawyers, and used-car salesmen have less than 30% trust - maybe you don't want to buy their products anymore.

What do I tell people? TURN OFF THE TV. Get your news from the Internet - like Digg or Newsvine or Google News. At least there you can cross-compare the actual facts and not have to be interrupted by innuendo and asides.

Over to you.
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