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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

All the News that's Fit for Profit

Jonathan at A Tiny Revolution explains corporate media:
The mainstream media does a FANTASTIC job. Day in and day out, they turn in an extraordinary performance at what they exist to do. And that is to make as much money as possible.

Of course, in terms of helping people learn about the world, they are an eternal catastrophe. But why would we ever expect any different? The mainstream media is made up of gigantic corporations. Like all corporations, they manufacture a product, which is their audience. They sell this product to their customers, which are other huge corporations.
I was thinking this when I read this statement by the perspicacious Digby:
This [the Judith Miller hoo-ha] is at its essence about a toxic political culture. The press has abdicated its responsibility to hold the powerful accountable.
I almost always think Digby is right about everything. But here's the thing: the press doesn't HAVE this responsibility. Gigantic corporations, by law, have one and only one responsibility, to make as much money as they possibly can. Sure, they pretend they carry the awesome burden of holding the powerful accountable, just like Wal-Mart pretends it's deeply concerned with the well-being of its employees. And in fact, some New York Times managers may even believe they are engaged in the Unending Fight For Etc., Etc. But that doesn't change the fact that if the need for huge profits ever conflicts with holding the powerful responsible—and it will, constantly—you really shouldn't wait up. Later, Digby wrote this about the talented Ms. Miller:
How on earth does someone this vapid become an "expert" on national security issues for the New York Times?
Again, a huge corporation like the New York Times pretends—even to itself—it wants someone smart, hard-hitting, etc. to cover national security issues. But in reality, it selects for vapidity.
There's more, although I've stolen most of it. I guess Judy and the Times didn't sell the war to the public--they sold the public to the warmongers.