The Decision of NBC News – A Thought

I haven’t blogged for a few days because it felt a little wrong to talk about my usual ridiculous subjects when all the terrible things were happening in Virginia. But, I had to write today after NBC aired the footage last night of Cho Crazy-Ass and the subsequent beating they have taken today for doing so.

I was a Journalism major in school, so this subject is very interesting to me. NBC News is really between a rock and a hard place – they seem that they would be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. But, they shouldn’t be.

Let me explain: Much of the blame for this travesty must rest squarely on the shoulders of the individuals who decided that the News Department of any broadcast organization is on the same footing as the Entertainment Department. Meaning that they are just as responsible to the corporate heads to turn a profit as any other department in the organization. This single decision, made in the mid 80s by a few greedy Reagan-Era assholes, changed forever the role of the news organization – and in the aftermath has toppled the delicate “fourth estate” that ensured a somewhat fair and balanced reporting stucture.

Cho knew how the 21st century 24/7 Media work. This is why, even in his obvious madness, he still managed to carefully plan and execute the perfect media kit. Pretty savvy for a 22 year old kid. Unfortunately, but yet predictably, NBC fell right into the trap – it was too easy not to. No amount of talking about how they did not want to exploit the material matters; they did. Period.

Why?

Because ratings equals revenue – they need to compete with not only other news outlets, but within thier own conglomeratized organization. This is the same reason we had three straight days of so-called news coverage on Anna Nicole Smith, NBCs ridiculous To Catch a Predator, and why Britney Spears makes front page “news.” It’s sickening.

There is no way that journalism can be true to the Fourth Estate if it is saddled with the extra burden of making money. The two are completely mutually exclusive and no one seems to understand the things we’ve lost since this idea was decimated. We will only have more of these horrible incidents in the future unless we realize this sooner rather than later.

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