“Beating up on [cable news’] excesses is like riding down the hill after a bloody battle and shooting the wounded.”
David Carr, New York Times. Parodying Cable News With a Talk About Race.
On Tuesday night on MSNBC’s “All In,” Chris Hayes had a very direct conversation about race with the Gawker writer Cord Jefferson. Prompted by a news report of a group of young people in Huntington Beach, Calif., who looted and vandalized property, the pair lamented the lack of community leadership and suggested that acting out in that manner was a learned behavior.
It was a joke. Actually, there were two beats to the joke. The young people they were talking about were white. And the whole discussion was a put-on, a satire meant to show how lame the hoary race tropes of cable news have become.
As a comedy bit, it was very well done. Both men were straight-faced and earnest. Mr. Hayes, tapping his inner Bill O’Reilly, did a fine job of bloviating his way through an introduction heavy with outrage: “The story of the white criminal culture is not a story the mainstream media will tell you. But once you scratch the surface, these stories are everywhere you look.”
If you haven’t seen the segment, it’s well worth the five minutes to watch typical cable news tropes turned on their head.
Carr’s analysis of the segment hits the usual notes: cable’s inability (or unwillingness) to present nuance, and its manufactured outrage as it fills a 24 hour news hole. But he also discusses the very real effect of a (mostly younger) audience used to the news as presented by The Daily Show and Colbert Report, writing, “MSNBC was temporarily acting as a kind of self-cleaning oven, parodying the excesses of cable from a very near distance.”
For his part, Hayes tells Carr, “The biggest challenge is to find a way to surprise viewers and subvert expectations. The format is in need of evolution.”
Anthony De Rosa on API Virtue
In this video, we take advantage of Anthony De Rosa’s experience at Reuters to examine how larger news organizations struggle and hope to adapt to major shifts in the media industry.
Near the center of it at Reuters is De Rosa as Social Media Editor (and host at ReutersTV), where he helped figure out how API’s can be best used to distribute Reuters content. Here, he explains what APIs are and why they will play a more integral part of the News industry.
By consolidating content from both multiple sources and among differing mediums, APIs let organizations do more than just publish written pieces and slideshows. They allow them to make a more full use of the Internet.
For more of our videos with Anthony and others in the media industry, see TheFJP.org.
Americans’ Confidence in Television News
Gallup has a new poll showing that American’s confidence in television news is at an all time low. However, they can’t quite put their finger on why that might be so:
It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last. Americans’ negativity likely reflects the continuation of a broader trend that appeared to enjoy only a brief respite last year. Americans have grown more negative about the media in recent years, as they have about many other U.S. institutions and the direction of the country in general.
FJP — We’ll hazard a guess: US television news is positively craptastic.
“General news is not relevant to young people because they don’t have context. It’s a lot of abstract storytelling and arguing among adults that makes no sense. So most young people end up consuming celebrity news. To top it off, news agencies, for obvious reasons, are trying to limit access to their content by making you pay for it. Well, guess what: Young people aren’t going out of their way to try to find this news, so you put up one little wall, and poof, done. They’re not even going to bother.”
The News: NBC News hired Chelsea Clinton as a “full-time special correspondent”. She joins other NBC hires such as Jenna Bush (GW’s daughter) and Luke Russert (son of former Meet the Press host Tim). MSNBC, of course, hired Meghan McCain (daughter of John) for her insights on the presidential elections.
Possible Takeaway: If you want a news gig, have a famous father?
At Salon, Glenn Greenwald writes about America’s Meritocratic, Watchdog News Media:
We all owe our gratitude to NBC News for single-handedly correcting the shameful, long-standing exclusion from our media discourse of the views of young, journalistically accomplished heirs and heiresses to political power and great fortune.
Meanwhile, Brian Stelter of the New York Times gathers the day’s reactions to NBC’s hirings in a Storify post.
Remember when Luke Russert’s dad died so MSNBC hooked him up with a job and deep into the campaign, as MSNBC’s youth correspondent season, he kept insisting that John McCain resonated with the youth, and he had the stereotypical chubby college freshman in a frat bowl cut as his national television hairstyle? I can never forgive that, that being the latter part of the aformentioned.
@poynterinstitute: Agreed if you include his statement that the organizations themselves (eg., @WSJ, @Reuters, etc) need be held to a higher standard. Doesn’t wash if @NYTimes posts errors and comes back saying, Don’t mind that, it’s idle water cooler gossip. — Michael
There’s been a lot of shamefacedness and embarrassment on Twitter from people who tweeted the false news that Piers Morgan had been suspended from CNN. … That said, one of the things I like about Twitter is that it behaves in many ways a lot more like a newsroom than a newspaper. Rumors happen there, and then they get shot down — no harm no foul.
I think our main accounts have to be super careful and check before posting anything. On my personal account, I feel it’s more about sharing what’s out there, but since people have started to rely on me, I have to be more careful even on my personal account.
In the case of the Piers suspension, it came from what most would consider a reliable source, the anchor at Channel 4 news in the UK. Unfortunately, that person was getting their information from a fake account on Twitter.
The lesson here is, as it often is, that it’s better to be right than to be first. I’m trying to hold myself to a higher standard and I like to think I have in the past (otherwise they wouldn’t have relied on me to begin with), I don’t think I did in this case.