Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Importance of Infotainment News Shows to Politics

In one of our final classes we discussed mock news shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and decided that they are info-tainment. They provide the information in an entertaining manner.

While perusing the politico website, I encountered a part of their website called "Politico Playback." In these videos, the politico staff comb through all the various late night info-tainment shows and highlight the most pertinent parts of the shows that are of interest to the visitors of The clips are politics related and highlight what these late night comedians have to say about current political events and politicians.

The fact that a political website has a section devoted to clips from info-tainment news shows that they have an impact on the country as a whole and are deemed significant enough to watch by the people who frequent politico.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Conflict of Interest

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Fox News canceled its contracts with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. This move follows their suspensions from the networks which resulted from their contemplating a run for president. They were canceled because they were in the process of declaring their intention to run by forming exploratory committees or filling the necessary paperwork to form an exploratory committee.

What I find most interesting in the article is the statistic reported by Media Matters, a watchdog group. Based on their tally, Gingrich and Santorum appeared on the show after their suspensions as often as they did prior to their suspensions.

Additionally, I think it quaint that the authors write "Politico first reported Fox's decision." Apparently, Politico is more "in the know" than the Wall Street Journal which happens to be owned by the same parent company as Fox News.

According to the article, Mike Huckabee is still contracted with Fox after giving mixed signals about a possible presidential run but not having taken the step of filling to form an exploratory committee.

I happen to believe that even though problems can arise from presidential candidates having their own TV shows, it may be beneficial. On the con side, it can be used as a bully pulpit, a place from which it is possible to attack political opponents without them having a real chance to respond. On the pro side, giving them a TV show will place them in the spotlight and allow for the public to better understand their positions and personalities so that they can really get to know the candidate and decide whether they feel that they would be a good president or not.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TV and former politicians

Tina Fey of "SNL" and "30 Rock" has announced that Condoleezza Rice is going to appear on "30 Rock". She announced it during a meet and greet last night. It was reported by Lisa de Moraes, the TV columnist for the Washington Post, on her blog.

By appearing on such a popular TV show, can this be a sign of things to come for Ms. Rice, getting her name out there slowly to increase her visibility in preparation for something larger? Current candidates would jump at the chance to appear on such a program as it allows them to get their name known to people who might not necessarily have known otherwise. However, because candidates would use a cameo as a publicity stunt, I am not sure whether producers and broadcast company executives would be happy or allow it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Vice-President Etiquette

According to CBS News, Vice President Biden may have fallen asleep during President Obama's press conference on debt reduction. The video shows him with his eyes closed although he may be thinking deeply and not sleeping. However, if you pay close attention to the lady with glasses sitting behind and to the left of V.P. Biden, she too seems to be falling asleep. What does this say for V.P. Biden and the lady behind him if they both fell asleep, what does it say about President Obama's oratory abilities if they were able to fall asleep and lastly, what does this tell us about CBS News or whoever took the video- did they have nothing better do to than to place a camera on V.P. Biden?

Tonight may be a night to watch some info-tainment news shows as this is sure to be included in the telecast.

Friday, April 1, 2011

[Insert Name Here] for President

Apparently, running for president is the new thing to do. Trump is doing it along with 20(!) other presidential hopefuls.

Is running for president seen as a business venture, a way to get a name out there which, as in the case of Sarah Palin, can lead to a lucrative career as a speaker and pundit? Or is it driven by a real desire to do something good for the country?

One of the strengths of this country is that almost anyone can run for president and if they are disqualified from running for president, they can still run for election into other areas of government.

However, I feel that having too many people running for president (even at this early stage) causes rifts in the electorate leading me to posit that it may be better to have fewer candidates, the front runners running for president and appointing the other hopefuls to cabinet positions. This would allow people to vote for who they want while keeping the electorate relatively intact.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Glenn Beck Network

This interesting article in yesterdays NY Times about Glenn Beck is quite intriguing. Glenn Beck may start his own cable TV channel once his Fox News contract expires. In doing so, he would follow in the footsteps of Oprah, who also launched her own network, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

I am intrigued by this because as the article states that "Mr. Beck...many advertisers have shunned him on Fox, in part because of a boycott that started after he called President Obama racist in 2009." If you are unable to attract advertisers, or receive government funding or have inadequate private funds, how is it possible to maintain a cable channel. Mr. Beck may have wealthy individuals behind him although that may not be so good. If he is receiving his money from his ardent supporters, then he is accountable to no one as his income is guaranteed. Compare this to being on a network in which a host's comments must be carefully weighed lest a slip occur and advertisers pull their funding (exactly what happened to Mr. Beck). Without this accountability, who knows what Mr. Beck will say and what the repercussions will be. If I had a say in the matter, I would tell Mr. Beck to re-sign with Fox.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Comments on the Readings

In general, I try to not comment on the readings as I feel that there is enough content on the internet to blog about. However, after doing the readings, I am left with some comments that I feel are worth sharing.

In the reading "The Liberal Media Exposed," one of the proofs is quite tenuous. For example, the authors wish to use the fact that "John Tierney surveyed 153 campaign journalists at a press party at the 2004 Democratic National Convention...and found a huge preference for Democratic Senator John Kerry..." to prove that the media is liberal. Correct me if I am wrong, but if there was support for Bush, something would be amiss, but support for Kerry by journalists at the DNC should be expected. My issues are: 1) The reporters at the Democratic National Convention may have asked for that assignment based on their personal preference. They were reporting the DNC instead of the RNC because they are Democrats and are more interested in it than the RNC. Therefore, if a similar survey was taken at the RNC, the results would probably be the same, which would prove nothing, other than that reporters tend to be assigned to and report on things they are already predisposed to. This does not prove that the media is liberal. 2) Just because they favor Kerry does not mean that they are liberal and if they are liberal, that does not mean that their reporting will contain a liberal slant. They may associate themselves with a liberal philosophy, but they may not indicate so in their reporting. It is for these 2 reasons that I view this statistic as a weak proof.

In the reading "Advertising Trends in 2010," on page 14, the authors write "One nontrivial benefit of record spending and record airings this cycle is that many voters, whether they like it or not, were undoubtedly exposed to more campaign information than in previous election cycles and therefore were more likely to make informed choices at the ballot box..." My problem is, that watching ads and being exposed to political advertisements does not make one well informed. On the contrary, being saturated and possibly over-saturated by political ads may cause people to tune out which would make them less informed voters, proving that too many ads can be detrimental to society at large. 

Feel free to disagree but those are my thoughts on the readings.