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What's in a newscast?

Reader comment on item: My Debate with London Mayor Ken Livingstone

Submitted by Drew (Canada), Jan 27, 2007 at 16:01

A few years ago, I was part of the start-up of a new TV station in Victoria BC. It was part of a chain which had been built a reputation for being Innovative and Cutting-Edge in the medium. As news assignment editor, it became apparent to me that the newscasts had a simple premise: they would not actually contain news.

The whole concept of the station was that it would be "intensely local" and "talk about what people were talking about". But on no account were we to suggest to people what they should be talking about -- i.e. whether Israel should give up Gaza and the West Bank, how great a threat Iran poses or why Canadian gasoline prices were high when Canada is a net exporter of oil.

All of these issues ultimately affect us -- especially with our "shrinking" world -- but world news coverage was reduced to a two-minute segment in a one-hour newscast. Any suggestion of an in-depth look at such issues was greeted with elaborate snoring sounds from the producers.

There was, however, a lot of coverage given to local rock bands, how to train a dog to chase a rabbit and the latest developments in building a skateboard park.

My point in all this is that, a lot of media outlets tend to look at debates and in-depth discussions as "boring" and therefore not economically viable, no matter what the ultimate impact could be on our lives and freedoms.

Pity.

As for the lack of media coverage of Red Ken's remark about that he wouldn't have created Israel in the first place, maybe that's more a measure of how seriously the media take Red Ken than how seriously they take the remark. Perhaps if it had been said by someone with the power to influence the masses -- say, Bono, Paul McCartney or Oscar the Grouch -- it might have created more of a stir.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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