I quote here one exchange between Mike and Bob, and then will comment on it:
Bob says, about the increase in Fox viewership:
When you aren't constrained by the rules of journalism, and you're allowed to say pretty much what's most likely to get people going rather than what the facts may be, these are the kind of results you get.
That's your opinion, Bob. Many people, including myself, find that they follow the rules of journalism very well, especially the part about discussing ALL the news, which the network stations have proven time and time again they do not do.
Yes, Mike that is my opinion. It is good of you to recognize that. What you did not do, however, is respond to the example that I gave that bolstered that opinion, and seems reasonably straightforward. It seems difficult to refute. I offer it again here for your convenience, in case you may have found some way of explaining it now:
Fox presented, I believe a slanted news point of view in the lead up to the second gulf war. That was in the hard news department. I didn't like that, but then The New York Times did the same thing. The Times also presented that same point of view, as did most of the other networks on TV. I didn't like those either. That didn't make Fox bad. It followed along with the same disinformation that other folks were misled by, even though other information was available.
Where I believe that Fox went wrong is at the point when the conflicting information became available and then became creditable, Fox did not report that. Instead, it reported only news that supported a single point of view, unlike many other media sources which printed a range of stories, reporting news that was available from different sources. Fox tends to publish from a variety of Republican sources from the right side of that party.
Another Mike Bob exchange, with comment:
Bob is quoted by Mike, as follows:
but many people confuse being tickled with being fully informed, or being even reasonably informed
and Mike begins his response, as follows:
Many? How about the great majority?
Oh, okay. But I thought it was simply a larger proportion of the cable audience, not "the great majority?" I thought most Americans were tuned to other stuff entirely. All of a sudden, instead of a couple million people, we've gotten promoted to a Fox audience of "a Great Majority" of the American Public? Raging Rampant Runaway inflation of figures, Batman, what just happened?
And which one of those little cups is that pea behind now?
Mike goes on:
It's sad you have such a low opinion of such a large part of the population.
Heavens to Betsy, I say that Fox isn't doing it's job being objective and now I'm being disrespectful of "a large part of the population." I have to wonder how large a part of the population this must be. I even give an example of how this is true, which goes unaddressed, and suddenly I have a low opinion of a large part of the population.
I wonder how large a part of the population I am supposed to have this low opinion of. Mike has frequently expressed his low opinion of Democrats as a whole, which is what, 40% of the population? He seems fine with that proportion, so I assume that if I had a low opinion of 40% of the population, he would be fine with that as well. Where would his cut off point be for it not being okay to have a low opinion of people?
And besides, I never said that I had a low opinion of people, Mike placed those words in my mouth. I talked about people who settled for being tickled for being reliably informed.
Apparently Mike feels very touchy about defending those who appreciate the bear baiters of this world. Those are the people that Shakespeare did have to compete with, down on the south bank of the Thames. I'm fonder of the clowns, acrobats and comedians, myself; there's not so much blood involved in the entertainment.
Being tickled could work for a limited time but, year after year, with either Democrats or Republicans in control, FOX has continued to lead the ratings. They go where they can be the MOST informed.
The last sentence doesn't follow from the prior sentences, which I haven't verified, but which sound like they may well be true.
But no, people don't go where they can be most informed. Otherwise the sale of newspapers would be up, wouldn't it, and there would be more details and references in them to send readers to other sources so they could do extra reading on their own. It's a great hope, but it doesn't work out. Not even in the Murdoch holdings do newspaper revenues exceed broadcast and cable media sales.
The most detailed and informative and accurate papers and magazines have some content reflected in the broadcast and cable media. As I indicated in my comments in my posting above, sometimes Fox news and other media reflect the same sorts of information as these detailed and informative and accurate papers and magazines, as in the lead up to the second gulf war. Some of these media, such as The Christian Science Monitor, and The Times of London, the BBC and a few other sources were printing or reporting additional news that didn't get picked up at that time, however. Fox news was not unusual in excluding these stories, however, at the time.
When more and more of these stories became available, however, Fox did not let its readers know, and went so far as to deny them, and to print false and fabricated stories about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the threat of Iraqi drone planes, the threat of Iraqi Al Qaeda forces and so on. Viewers and readers of Newscorp related publications and cable and broadcast outlets in large numbers actually believe that these fabrications were true until late in the last administration, and some of them may still believe these things, despite the more accurate reporting that has come out since, including retractions from former administration officials.
This does not qualify as "The most informed" by any stretch of the imagination. It does qualify the views as the most disrespected by any single news organization. As Mike might well point out — in your opinion. And yes, I would have to agree, in my opinion.
Even in the heyday of the great newspapers, they were often outsold by the yellow journalism press. Often enormously outsold. Some have said the the Spanish-American War was a Hearst invention. I really wouldn't know, but I do know that it seems to have sold a lot of papers.
Fox does have great ratings.
Olbermann went down 12%. Maddow went down 40%, Anderson 17%. That doesn't necessarily mean those viewers went to FOX. It just means people stopped watching those show...what does that say about those shows then?
I really don't know. If I did, I'd try to repair them and make some money doing that.
I have, however, a theory.
My theory is that news is not entertainment. It is public service. Presenting it on TV is a service to the public and to the Democratic principles, so that we can have a literate and informed electorate. This is what we used to have, or a least a more informed and literate electorate.
With the change in status of news from public service to entertainment, news has become competitive in several different ways. It now is important for the news to be cheap, so it doesn't cost much to produce. Opinion, then, is cheaper than reportage. Flashy opinion draws more than considered opinion. And information needs to be competitive as well, so that there is a market for news that people want to hear, not so much for what is true or real, which people may not want to hear but which may be more important. Profit trumps truth.
Hence, Fox News, "the news that people really want to hear." That's the slogan that they should adapt; not "fair and balanced."
So if you want an explanation, there you have it.
Fox wins because it's just plain better — but the sticking point comes with exactly how it's better. It's better because it's "the news that people really want to hear!" It's "News without Pain!"
With that in mind, I feel I should leave you with the last word here, I think it's a set of thought that we may, sadly, agree upon, with the exception I would make in the jump between the next to last and the last sentences. I believe that folks have a right to make their news entertaining, but that hard news deserves to be subsidized in the interest of our democracy.
I can understand how it is infuriating to Democrats that a conservative station continues to lead the polls, year after year. Fortunately for FOX, the Democrats will not ask themselves why and, because of that, FOX will continue to be the most-watched station. Please continue to believe in the "tickle" theory. That will insure that FOX will continue with their success.