‘Tis a mystery to me

‘Tis a mystery to me why so much of mainstream media follows the lemmings over the cliff.

Major newspapers have bled readers for years. Big TV network news shows have lost viewers by the millions. CBS and CNN are apparently mulling the idea of combining their news operations in some way. ABC and NBC have gutted their staffs. As have the big newspapers. While Newsweek has crashed.

Why, then, is the Wall Street Journal gaining subscribers?  And making money?  Why is Fox News winning more viewers?  And making money?  Why does Drudge pile on more readers every month?

Rupert Murdoch owns the money makers. (He does not own Drudge.) He explains why his company is doing well. The mystery to me is why the owners of the others plug their ears.

He makes money because the others leave half the market to him. They tilt their news to the left. Their news and their editorial comment. If you disagree, please don’t shoot the messenger. Check out the many studies done by non-partisan media watchdogs.

By tilting so far left, they ignore readers and viewers in half the market. And often, they abuse them. That is, they often won’t cover stuff on the right because it makes their reporters and editors uncomfortable. A major Chicago radio station this week said it would not cover the Republican candidate in a local race. Because he was too critical of their Democrat favorite. This is typical.

My local paper just ignored a tea party gathering in a tiny village near me. Over 1200 people gathered. That is the largest gathering for anything around here. If you torched the entire village 1200 people would not gather to watch. Yet to the daily paper the event never took place. That is an abuse of its customers.

Often, big media belittle those on the right. For example, rather than report, they go out of their way to paint tea partiers as racists, gun-toters, whatever.

My point is, simply, that this is not smart business. Big media competes, one against the other against the other, for half the market. Half. They leave the other half to Murdoch.

His Journal and Fox News pretty much keep their opinions out of the news reporting. The news reporting. Again, before you shoot messenger, check out surveys.

He is happy as the wine taster at the teetotalers’ convention. He does not have to share with anybody.

Smart business people do not classify their customers as Republican or Democrat or left or right-wing. Ford does not pitch its convertibles to pro-choice folks. Bill Gates does not care who you vote for. If all the other software companies offered only “Software for the Left”, he might well do what Murdoch does. If he did not, maybe Murdoch would.

No doubt the journalists have convinced executives and owners that their news/propaganda mission is sacred. They believe there must be a wall between the business side and the news side of media. Business-types must not interfere with the news, they argue.

They can believe that ‘til the cows and creditors come home. They do not worry about the creditors. They ought to. They ought to worry about their customers. Because it is the customers who pay for their jobs to exist.

I am not smart enough to know why execs and owners and shareholders of big media allow the journalists to take them over the cliff. I only know they provide constant entertainment for Rupert Murdoch. Entertainment he can – and does - take to the bank.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.   


For more columns, for Tom’s radio shows and new TV show (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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