Saturday, November 22, 2008

Campaign-Withdrawal Syndrome: Today's Obama-centric Media.

Whether at school, work or just walking through the streets, you'll probably see someone proudly donning the necessary Obama pin on their coats. Trying to make a quick buck off the president-elect, the media has been extremely eager to merchandise the election moment to the Obama-thirsty public.

From HBO's campaign documentary and NBC's Yes We Can DVD (pictured left by to commemorative plates and media-churned catch phrases like "Obamaism," the MSM has turned Obama into the next pop-culture phenomenon.

Since election night, TV ratings and online traffic have fallen, as viewers are seemingly quenched of their political thirst, says Paul Farhi. One might argue that the unstable economy is leaving large news corps like NYT (who cut dividend from 23 to 6 cents per share) desperate to keep themselves in business. Desperate enough to advertise Obama commemorative coins (pictured on the right, advertised on
NBC News President Steve Capus, who oversees MSNBC, says people who watch cable news, "are notorious for their short attention spans. If they don't like what you're doing, they're gone." (Farhi)
Can we really blame the media for their Obama-centric coverage? Yes We Can.

The problem isn't Chomsky's theory of the media's profit-orientation or a liberal-media bias this time.

According to Howard Kurtz, journalists who are fueled on Obama's glory, "have crossed a cultural line into mythmaking," and perpetuated America's celebratory state. The MSM's "hyperventilation" (Kurtz) disillusionizes viewers to have unreasonably high expectations for the new leader. He comments:

Obama's days of walking on water won't last indefinitely. His chroniclers will need a new story line. And sometime after Jan. 20, they will wade back into reality.

Ultimately, should we criticize the media for suffering from "campaign-coverage-withdrawal syndrome?" If they're not doing their basic duties of journalism, then yes. Consider also the following:

John Kirch criticizes the media's blind spot on third party candidates. Coverage leans towards whatever drives ratings. But Kirch argues that it's detrimental to democracy because the abysmal percentage of Nader and Barr coverage shadows the new "ideas that they espouse."

And what about the hoax of fake McCain advisor, Martin Eisenstadt (source Palin-Africa leak), which completely went over reporters' heads undetected and made MSNBC file a retraction?

The media may be doing the public a disservice if they are doing ineffective reporting and are instead, ratings and profit-oriented.

No comments: