Not so weird after all

A new international Reuters poll is reassuring.

I threw out the TV in 2010 and turned off the radio in 2020. I thought I was weird, but it turns out that HALF of the people in most countries have been doing the same thing for the same reasons.

The proportion of news consumers who say they avoid news, often or sometimes, has increased sharply across countries. Across markets, many respondents say they are put off by the repetitiveness of the news agenda – especially around politics and [“virus”] (43%), or that they often feel worn out by the news (29%). A significant proportion say they avoid news because they think it can’t be trusted (29%). Around a third (36%), particularly those who are under 35, say that the news brings down their mood. Others say the news leads to arguments they would rather avoid (17%), or leads to feelings of powerlessness (16%). A small proportion say they don’t have enough time for news (14%) or that it is too hard to understand (8%).

Repetition is the first cause. See the seven-second rule, and also see the basic definition of INFORMATION. One word or phrase repeated endlessly is NOT information and NOT news and NOT a signal.

Despite this atrociously destructive and poisonous product, there’s an appetite for real journalism. Reporting is a necessary part of a complex civilization. We have no journalists at all now, so we’re hungry for the FUNCTION and FORMAT of real journalism.

I listen to several news broadcasts from 1948 to 1953 in my bedtime playlist. Obviously they aren’t reporting events happening now, but the FORMAT satisfies a need. These broadcasts are not repetitive. Each quarter hour is a well-selected and well-seasoned stew of real information and real entertainment.

Frank Edwards was the best, and other unnamed newscasters at Mutual were nearly as good. They respected the audience’s intelligence and STRICTLY avoided partisan idiocy. Absurd noises made by politicians were treated as absurd noises, regardless of party. Real events were appropriately treated as serious or silly, regardless of party.

THE FAIRNESS DOCTRINE WORKED.

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Later thought: When half of customers have abandoned ALL brands but still want a non-poisonous version of the product, there should be a business opportunity. So far I don’t see anyone trying to fill the niche. Nobody in the podcast arena is trying to cook up an old-fashioned ‘stew’. Most are following the Rush model, with the Big Dude and his Slavish Sidekick.

Substack is admirably holding the line against censorship, but the successful authors there are purely Woke or fake populist. (Toss an occasional bone to the weirdos while rigorously obeying the Faucian line and the Russia-hating line.) Nobody is replicating the Fairness Doctrine model, nobody is looking at ALL partisans with an equally jaundiced eye.

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