A federal judge ruled in a Constitutionally significant case with national security implications on the same day a man was taken in to custody in the Jon Benet Ramsey case. I give you one guess which story was the lead and which story garnered the most attention.
All three major TV networks led their evening news with stories on JonBenet Ramsey’s death and the comments made by arrested teacher John Mark Karr. The networks offered multiple segments and numerous expert analyses to provide in-depth coverage on the legal case. The NSA decision received only a passing mention from two of the newscasts, while ABC devoted a full segment to it.
Still, ABC devoted twice as much time to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story. More egregiously, CBS offered seven times as much airtime to Ramsey as it did to the NSA story, while NBC devoted 15 times more airtime. Below is a comparison of the allocation of time made by each network:
NETWORK RAMSEY SEGMENT NSA SEGMENT NBC 7:39 0:27 CBS 3:23 0:25 ABC 4:03 2:00
This is what happens when the maximizing principle of your news department is entertainment and money. Personally, I couldn't give a shit about Jon Benet Ramsey and the developments in solving the case of her murder. My heart goes out to her family for sure, but this is, at best, a local story. The only reason I'm subjected to this bunk here in New York City is because she was a little blond girl whose parents dressed her up like a Barbie doll.
Believe me, I get the fact that millions of Americans are probably interested in this soap opera drama. I understand the incentive. But, is there no one at the Networks with self-respect? Is there no one out there who might consider it more important to sufficiently inform the American public about issues of fundamental importance? Must we always be entertained? Anyone?!?!?
Also see: Jeff Cohen's further explanation.
Blogged with Flock