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August 11, 2003


NYT discusses "news burnout" among

NYT discusses "news burnout" among American TV viewers. Every network's viewership is down, except for -- you guessed it -- Fox News.

The theory presented in the article is that the surplus of big stories lately -- 9/11, Iraq -- has overdosed everyone. There seems to be an implication in the article that the viewers are somehow to blame for this trend. It seems to me, though, that the networks themselves are responsible for the declining numbers: every time a big story rolls around, they flog it to death, and then keep flogging it, as they would a dead horse. Everyone likes watching horses get flogged, for sure, but after a while, it gets a little sickening, and, like the article says, people "just take a breath and say, 'O.K., that's enough for a while.'"

And, in case you still had any doubt that people's lives are nothing but products to news producers, check out this quote from the article:

Others said this summer's more serious-seeming news events were, in fact, less compelling than those of last summer: the disappearance of 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart from her Utah home; the abduction and killing of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion in California; the rescue of nine miners from a Pennsylvania coal shaft; the fatal shooting of two people at the Los Angeles International Airport and the killing of the gunman by an El Al security guard.

Among the top news stories this summer, "none of these have the broad appeal and emotional tug that a Samantha Runnion, Elizabeth Smart, the miner rescue or the airport shootings had at that time," said [a CNN executive].

I know what will cure the ennui of the American news consumer: Round-the-clock coverage of Kobe! If that doesn't work, how long before news execs start arranging the kidnappings of pre-teen white girls?

posted by adm at 5:31 AM | #


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