News Flash: Journalism, Infotainment and the Bottom-Line Business of Broadcast News
While talking heads debate the media's alleged conservative or liberal bias, award-winning journalist Bonnie Anderson knows that the problem with television news isn't about the Left versus the Right—it's all about the money. From illegal hiring practices to ethnocentric coverage to political cheerleading, News Flash exposes how American broadcast conglomerates' pursuit of the almighty dollar consistently trumps the need for fair and objective reporting.
Along the way to the bottomline, the proud tradition of American television journalism has given way to an entertainment-driven industry that's losing credibility and viewers by the day.
As someone who has worked as both a broadcast reporter and a network executive, Anderson details how the networks have been co-opted by bottom-line thinking that places more value on a telegenic face than on substantive reporting. Network executives—the real power in broadcast journalism—are increasingly employing tactics and strategies from the entertainment industry. They "cast" reporters based on their ability to "project credibility," value youth over training and experience, and often greenlight coverage only if they can be assured that it will appeal to advertiser-friendly demographics.
This reckless pursuit of the bottomline not only betrays the American people but is also ultimately bad news for the networks' own financial health. Anderson instead offers a path that will both ensure the continuing relevance of network news and shore up democracy itself, enabling Americans to make well-informed decisions about how to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens.
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