Friday, March 21, 2008

Bad News

by Michael Dymmoch
Friday, March 21, 2008

A week ago, members of The Outfit participated in Mayor Daley’s program to announce the latest One Book One Chicago selection. Library Board members were present; three of us from the outfit; the Budlong Woods Branch manager and his staff; as well as cameras from all the local commercial media—2, 5, 7, 9 and Fox.

The Mayor spoke briefly and from the heart about the importance of reading and of libraries before announcing The Book--Raymond’s Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. Sean Chercover then gave a brief explanation of why Chandler’s novel was a brilliant choice, combining literary skill with (still!) relevant social issues. (Reprinted in its entirety in Libby’s Blog for March 15, 2008) The program lasted about half an hour and was followed by a brief photo session.

In spite of the importance of literacy to solving our national and local issues, the media devoted more time hourly to advertising its upcoming coverage of the Obama-Rezco connection (pretty much a made up story, since—apparently—no laws were broken) than it did all night to the city’s brilliant initiative.

Channel 7 spent 20 seconds on One Book One Chicago during the 6 o’clock news; Channel 5, 15 seconds on the 10 o’clock news. If the other stations mentioned the announcement at all, I missed it.

All of which seems emblematic of the irrelevance of commercial “news” media—shills for the crap hucksters are pushing disguised as information.

17 comments:

Sean Chercover said...

Michael, you'll be happy to learn that you missed a bunch of the coverage. Channel 5 also had it on both early newscasts, The Trib and the Sun-Times both covered it, I'm told that WBBM radio also did a piece. It was also on cable television - CLTV and the Chicago Works municipal station. And there may have been other coverage - those above are just the ones I saw by chance, in addition to the ones you mentioned.

But your bigger point is valid. Bad news sells better than good. Even bad innuendo sells better than good news.

There once was a time when the news division was considered part of a television network's community responsibility - profit was nice, but for the news division it was a secondary consideration to Peabodys.

Then Roone Arledge came along and wrecked everything.

Picks By Pat said...

Has there been any coverage by the local PBS affiliate? I would think they, at least, would be more receptive.

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