November 23, 2005

"I'm Shocked, Shocked To Learn..."

When broadcasting started in America, is was started purely for business; WCCO stands, for example, for "Washburn, Crosby Company", the company who started the station primarily as an advertising venue for...wait for it...the Washburn Crosby Company.

Over the decades, broadcast got sucked into the same "high priests of knowledge" myth that has been the dominant motif in newspapers for the past century (only!) or so; the news media (or any medium that carries news) needs to wear the appearance of "objectivity". so people (who are too dumb to tell fact from fungus, themselves) will trust the media.

Of course, it's buncombe. All commercial media exist to make money for someone.

So the announcement that KARE11 TV (the local NBC affiliate) plans to start selling segments on its morning chat show shouldn't have anyone's undies in a knot. KARE - owned by Gannett - exists to make money.

But knotted the undies are.

"I am aghast," said University of Minnesota media ethics professor Jane Kirtley, who at first thought a reporter was kidding about the new format. "This is the logical extension of the whole pernicious practice of infomercials. If viewers are accustomed to getting [talk show] programming in a very different way, to suddenly change the rules on them isn't fair."
I'd love to know what the "media ethics" people at the U (and in the media academy in general) think people really think like. "Changing the rules?"

I'd suggest that anyone who's perceptions of reality, especially the reality they get from Television, are shaped and guided by "the rules" shouldn't be voting or driving.

"Oh, look, Andy - the TV is talking about Buns of Steel"

"Hm - that must mean Bush Lied, Ellen"

Especially over a program that, right now, under "the rules", is...:

a melange of cooking, celebrity features and other lifestyle stories, was a product of the news department when it was conceived 14 years ago. Even after it moved under the supervision of KARE's local programming department, it continued to maintain close ties with the news staff.
I guess there was a time when people intrinsically trusted the media; I suspect it was the same people who were trained to trust big institutions in general from the New Deal through the Great Society.

I'd really love to know if any of those people are still out there, and how the changing of the KARE 11 "Today" show is going to alter their worldviews...

Posted by Mitch at November 23, 2005 06:42 AM | TrackBack

KARE's morning show is already a running advert for musicians, restraunts, charities, etc. Why is this different?

Mitch, I know you came down from the Frozen North "20 years ago today", so you might not know this bit of media trivia. In the days B.F. (before Fox) we The Twin Cities had three network and one independent stations. WCCO was and is still the CBS affiliate. KSTP (for St. Paul, obviously) was the NBC affilate, and channel 9 was KMSP (again obvious), the ABC affiliate. Channel 11 was WTCN (Twin Cities News) an independent.
For some reason known only to the network gods, ABC switched to 5 from 9, and NBC, faced with displacement chose tiny WTCN as it's new home. Poor channel nine, left at the alter. Channel 11 was renamed WUSA, but when Gannett bought the station they wanted those call letters for their Washington station and, Tada! KARE 11 was born.
I hope that wasn't to Tolstoiian. (New I'd get to use that.)

Posted by: Kermit at November 23, 2005 10:15 AM

Knew. (damn public edimacation)

Posted by: Kermit at November 23, 2005 10:17 AM

I can still hear the choral jingle of "Double-U - U - S - A" rattling around in my head. And I can see the flashbacks of Paul and Diana with their god awful 80's hairdo's as well.

Posted by: Bill C at November 23, 2005 11:55 AM

I was pretty new to the market when the WUSA->KARE switch happened. I remember having Paul Magers on the Vogel show, and razzing him pretty roundly over it.

Posted by: mitch at November 23, 2005 01:07 PM

Ah, The Round Mound of Sound. I hung my head in sorrow the day Joe Soucherey announced his passing.

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