Monday, November 17, 2008

Media Watch: Business as Usual

Lest we all think media outlets are severely biased and at each other's throats, last week Fox and NBC put our concerns to rest with their announced plans to pool video news gathering á la the Associated Press or Reuters.

Executives from NBC and Fox say the move is intended to save money in the economically-strained business of local news in which costs for a microwave truck and crew sent out to cover stories, can run a station into the red quickly and efficiently. And so, rather than each station sending out the required people and materiel to cover a story, the combined operation assigns just one of each, saving a reporter, a crew, and perhaps even a chopper for each gig. The journalistic Montagues and Capulets say this is a pilot project, hoping to roll it out nationwide.

In truth, NBC and Fox have been passionately romancing one another for more than a year in the carnal bed of business called Hulu, to which they give new episodes of their shows, sell advertising, then innocently tell the actors, writers, and directors of those shows that there's virtually no revenue flow from online ventures. This new alliance involves the very news divisions whose commentators are putting on the unrestrained, brutal show of mutual hatred. Hello Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann!

On CNN Sunday, James "The Ragin' Cajun" Carville reminded us that in terms of what's said publicly, "you have to discount the campaign by 80 percent. That happens in politics." Having been privy to off-air, backstage conversations in the past, my guess is that he's going low with that number. The salacious all-out brawls that are platinum for Fox News and MSNBC ratings are equally insubstantial and ethereal when it comes to the business of making money.

That, dear friends, does not cut down partisan lines.


the beige one said...

Man, I don't like this...I don't like this one bit, can't really pinpoint why it bugs me so. Maybe it's the "more with less" approach that's giving me hesitation.

Anonymous said...

It stinks to my nose. Fox and NBC are NOT the AP or C-SPAN (which provides pool services and which is truly non-partisan, as evidenced by their style and shots). Two corporations merging to provide pool services smells of monopolizing information, which brings to mind all kinds of evil tangents.