Thursday, December 07, 2006

Slant of media is driven by audience, not owners, U.S. study shows

The authors calculated the ideal partisan slant for each paper, if all it cared about was getting readers, and they found that it looked almost precisely like the one for the actual newspaper. As Shapiro put it during an interview, "The data suggest that newspapers are targeting their political slant to their customers' demand and choosing the amount of slant that will maximize their sales."

But if this is true, can the financial difficulties of the MSM be completely explained by the advance of the Internet? Or is it that we are becoming a nation of illiterates? Maybe some combination of these things?

There is no question in my mind that the mainstream media deserves what is happening to them at this point. I happen to like biased media. The country was founded in a time when there were many small, mostly local news sources with differing, (and this is critical) openly stated points of view.

When possible, I like to read the same story from both a conservative and liberal perspective, and if both don't give me the "hmmm, I never thought of it that way" reaction then I've wasted my time.

Sadly, you don't have to read much beyond the title and first paragraph of MSM stories to know there is nothing new in it at all, and all too often the online media isn't doing much better.

Direct citizen driven journalism as made possible on the Internet has great potential, but also could reduce important issues to the level of WWF competitions.

There is reason for cautious optimism.

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