Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Feeding the Wheel

Ever wonder why so much Conservative bullshit is left unchallenged on the 24-hour news channels? Here's a quick lesson from a guy who used to be a producer at a 24-hour newsroom: There's a concept called 'feeding the wheel.' That's what we called it in our newsroom; I guarantee that every other newsroom has a similar cynical phrase.

What it means is that for every hour or half-hour, you need to have something fresh to talk about.

A week or so ago, The Daily Show aired a clip from CNN with these two 'experts' talking about the Texas bill barring homosexual couples from being foster parents. The wingnut talking head spouts off about a study that shows that homosexual couples are likely to abuse their foster kids. The other guy, who works in the field, says there's no such study. The kicker is that the chick in the newsroom wraps it without following through with any sort of question to the wingnut asking for validity.

Here's why: The anchor chick in the newsroom had no fucking clue about any of it. I would bet that her entire research for the segment was watching the story that the field reporter submitted and a meeting with the producer that probably lasted no more than ten minutes, where they went over the topic and the questions that should be asked.

Now the chick, maybe she's got good reporter instincts; but I'm guessing she doesn't. Journalistic acumen is not a requirement for her job, and in fact would most likely get in the way. The primary skills needed for the job (apart from being able to read the teleprompter) are:
1) Time management
2) Look nice
That's it. Ask guest #1 a question. Monitor length of response. Ask guest #2 a question, or allow guest #2 response. Monitor length of response. Break in if necessary. The producer is in her ear, backtiming to the 'out' time. Continue in this fashion 'til it's time for happy talk and cue to break, where they talk about the next segment, and whether that segment is about Social Security or controlling flatulence in your pet pooch, she will be just as uninformed as she was in this segment.

So, you see, even if she did want to call bullshit on the wingnut, she wouldn't have had time to do it, because she had to feed the wheel.

This is the system in which we on this side of the television get our information, because like it or not, it's how the majority of America gets it. Not only that, but it's how they like it.

The GOP knows this. They recognized early on that they could use it to their advantage, because they can spout any sort of bullshit rhetoric, and no one will call them on it, because the person directing the debate doesn't know if it's bullshit or not, and usually has no time to do anything about it.

What this means is that those of us in the reality-based community have to fight a war on two sides: The GOP, and the newswheel.

Problem is, it's hard to fight this war without sinking to their level. As catchy as it is, when was the last time you heard "Take Back America" on any news show?

I'm sorry to say I have no answers. Only questions.

Yeharr.

4 Comments:

Blogger That Dude said...

It's a good thing I stopped by since I do have some answers....


On the feeding the wheel syndrome, that is 100% real, but let's not pretend that this is some battle that the Left has to fight in conjunction with the war against the GOP. Until the last few years you boys didn't even have to debate on TV, it was just slant left, slant left, slant left. Now that there is even a sliver of debate most of the left are apocolyptic about that.

As Bobby D said to Ray Liotta in Goodfellas "I can't have it, I just can't have it"

That Dude

8:35 AM, May 11, 2005  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Never confuse answers with opinions, Dude.

Slant left, slant left slant left? Ummm...no. Lemme ask you this: If the media was so slanted left, why did a ten-year-old land deal that made no one any money whatsoever and was never even understood to be illegal, end up with daily Lewinsky reports? Too recent? Ok; if the media was so slanted left, how come Reagan was able to completely disregard the Constitution in the Iran-Contra affair and no one called him on it? (http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/walsh/execsum.htm)

Yes, these items were conducted in the realm of government. But the extend of the coverage by the so-called left-slanting media was a factor in their outcome.

Since the days of Barry Goldwater, GOP lunatics have sought to muzzle the press. Since the days of the Nixon impeachment, GOP lunatics have sought to make both the Press and Democrats pay for actually catching them doing something naughty. Now, GOP lunatics are seeking to actively rewrite the laws of the land so that the shit they did back then that was illegal will soon be LEGAL.

There is no sliver of debate, Dude. There's GOP lunatics on one side spouting off so much crap that it's hard to know where to begin to refute. They paint broad-stroked lies over subjects that require subtle understandings, and do it with such rapiditiy that many are left speechless, trying to decide which part of the bullshit they should address first. And if your opponents manage to get any sort of response out, they are hit with "Why do you hate America?"

Where in this scenario is the sliver of debate, Dude?

And the word is 'apoplectic,' Dude--meaning 'rendered speechless by fury.'

Apocalyptic (note spelling) Involves or portends widespread devastation or ultimate doom.

Ironic, considering what your fearless leaders are doing, that you should use that word.

As Freud said: "There are no slips of the tongue. Just revelations to the inner meaning."

Yeharr.

9:19 AM, May 11, 2005  
Blogger Philip Morton said...

Dude, you're history sounds a bit revisionist. Listen to a lot of hate radio? Hate and Bait? It's like Shake and Bake without any good taste? Dude, you're forgetting some major talking points, but I'll just drop the bomb that Reagan VETOED the "Fairness Doctrine" in 1987, passed by both houses of congress by the way, including Newt Gingrich and other notable GOP stars, which allowed for the rise of media controlled pro-right,anti-left hate machine because the FCC no longer required media to assure equal time rebuttal, or equal time addressing of another point of view. The Right has been spinning half-lies and half-truths since then to trounce the opposition and de-legitimize journalism, (you know the kind of reporting that brought down their boy Nixon.) Don't get your facts from Rush and the other 450 personalities who make revnue for their stations by spitting anti-liberal divisionist wedge non-issues like "the media is controlled by the left and what are we going to do about it?" There is no left anymore in the media. The fact that it's not all hard core right, there is just some conservative radio left with a conscience, and it's pissing the Big Money supporters of the GOP off and they want to obliterate anyone who strays off point and just slant right, slant right, slant right...

9:52 AM, May 11, 2005  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The dude from Philly has been well and truely dispatched.

Cool.

11:23 AM, May 11, 2005  

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