Thursday, April 23, 2009

MEDIA WARS: NEWS CORP. VS. GE & THE NY TIMES

There's an interesting development in the "culture war" that's been raging in the media for the last few decades. It seems as if the liberal side is losing public support faster than ever before. The NY Times is threatening to shut down the Boston Globe, and may bite the dust itself by the end of the year. It's not surprising that they have reached out to a failing cable channeL/website, MSNBC.com, to share their content.


What's happening here is that News Corp is kicking their butts, soundly. The NY Post, a lowly "tabloid" paper, is weathering the winds of cultural (and financial) change much better than the NY Times, and the Fox News channel routinely dominates in the ratings over MSNBC's "prime time" lineup. In fact, Fox's top host, Bill O'Reilly, has been directly taking on the General Electric and NBC leadership.


O'Reilly's latest stunt was to send the intrepid producer Jesse Waters into a GE shareholders' meeting (link), to ask them about bias at MSNBC. Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry (who served in Vietnam, by the way) is requesting Senate hearings "to address the woes of the nation's print media." (link) The Boston Globe is his hometown paper, after all.


If the NY Times survives, it will have to adapt to the "real" times. "Hiding" news articles for political reasons, as they did with the "tea party" story, doesn't attract new readers. For a paper with declining readership, that should be priority number one. MSNBC seems to be following another tactic, with not much better results.


With Keith Olbermann as their "anti-O'Reilly," they think that there is as large a "radical left wing" crowd as what they perceive as Fox's "radical right wing" viewers, compounding it with the "adorable" Rachel Maddow vs. Sean Hannity. The only problem with this is that while Hannity is a partisan, he was paired with liberal Alan Colmes for more than a decade. O'Reilly is an independent, with traditional conservative values. All he has in common with Olbermann is the tendency to be a pompous blowhard (a trait I share with both of them, to some degree). Fox is watched by people of all political persuasions, because they do strive to be "fair and balanced."


I don't want to see the NY Times, the Boston Globe, or MSNBC go under. I want to see them become better media outlets. My hometown paper is the NY Post, which is full of crappy gossip and "tabloid" stories, but also manages to report, and analyze much of the local, national, and world news accurately. The Times is an old "institution," but so was the Post, once and now again (it was founded by Alexander Hamilton, originally). Perhaps the Times has to go out of business, before it can come back to being a relevant newspaper for us "worldly" NY'ers, who also care about NY..


As for MSNBC, I'd like to renew my offer of services as on-air talent (link). I have a great speaking voice, and would love to work with Rachel Maddow. I could represent the guy who throws stuff at the TV whenever he listens to her, but I'd do it in an entertaining, even classy way. Hey, what've they got to lose?

1 comment:

BobG said...

I might watch MSNBC if you were on it. LOL, Bob!