Topic: The Media
Press Notes: The Art of Controlling the Interview, and the Craft of Selling Advertising Slots
It seems there is a good reason one really shouldn?t ask medical experts to appear on news interview shows. It seems they don?t like playing along with the standard narrative.
Media Matters reports that on the March 28 edition of MSNBC's Scarborough Country, host Joe Scarborough interviewed Dr. Ronald Cranford, one of the two neurologists selected by Michael Schiavo to examine Terri Schiavo pursuant to an October 2001 appellate court mandate. As part of that duty, Cranford "reviewed her medical records and personally conducted a neurological examination of Mrs. Schiavo," according to the June 2003 Florida appeals court review of that hearing.
It?s not often you hear a guest say to a news anchor, in this case NBC?s Lisa Daniels ? ?? this is all bogus. It's all just a bunch of crap that you are saying. It's totally wrong.?
And this, regarding the host? ?And Joe doesn't have any idea what he is talking about. And you don't have any idea what you're talking about.?
And even better, this exchange ?
Things were, at that point, clearly slipping out of control. And the host really wanted to control the interview.
And then there was this -
And on it went. You can read the whole transcript by clicking on the top link.
What to make of this?
The hosts of these shows are working on a particular persona each is marketing ? and the hook for this show is in its catchphrase ? ?Talking about the issues that matter to the average Joe.? That sells. And the marketing guess seems to be the ?average Joe? wants to hear that the doctors have it all wrong, or that they really don?t agree, and the evidence is we are starving to death a woman who is actually getting better. Great drama for the news network.
Except the doctors pretty much agree, and she isn?t getting better, and never was, and the facts are there for all to see. And the tests were done. And there?s not much more to say ? unless you don?t like the facts.
But ratings matter.
And CNN is changing too.
CNN Seeks New Ways to Battle Fox News
Jacques Steinberg, New York Times, March 23, 2005
This is a long item on Jonathan Klein, the new president of CNN, and his plans to change CNN to improve its ratings.
Yeah, well, that?s the state of the news media now.
By the way, for a video of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show having fun with this particular CNN report, go here and in the right column click on Professional Journalism item.
When news becomes just one of the products a major corporation sells, or uses to sell advertising slots, we get what the corporation thinks we want ? silly crap and lies that, well, maybe could be true if you're paranoid. (And that raises the question of whether folks want to feel paranoid ? whether they really want to believe that there are evil plots afoot and tons of folks who want to abduct our kids from schoolyards, and tens of thousands of kids who will sneak into those very schools and murder their classmates, and judges who want everyone to die, and that most if not all foreigners want to kill us because that hate freedom, and there?s a master plot by liberals to destroy Christianity and all the rest? And then there's... the French! You know, you CAN use that paranoia about the world being a creepy place with everyone out to get us all ? and sell a lot of tampons or cream cheese. But that?s another issue.)
Those who want Professional Journalism? There?s the PBS ?News Hour? and ?BBC World Report? out there, I guess. Dull stuff. With low ratings.
Excerpts from a comment from Digby over at Hullabaloo, who calls Scarborough ?a man with the mental capacity of a Vidalia onion (a small Vidalia onion)? -