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Air America Idiot Update

From the “O’Franken” blog, verbatim, but emphasis mine:


Last week, right-wing bloggers excitedly reported on what they saw as clear evidence that Big Media was out of touch with regular Americans, advancing a liberal agenda while ignoring the issues that mattered to the general public.

Here’s Andrew Sullivan:

BIG MEDIA VERSUS AMERICANS: They’re already burying the Nick Berg story to follow the prison abuse issue. Glenn Reynolds has some data to show how out-of-touch big media is.

What is the data? Internet search terms. Last week, more people were searching for the Nick Berg beheading video than for photos from Abu Ghraib—yet the media was giving more airtime to the prison abuse story than to the beheading. Reynolds approvingly quotes Neal Boortz on the lack of media attention to Berg:

May I suggest to you that there is a reason for this? Maybe it’s just this simple: The prison abuse scandal can damage Bush, the Nick Berg story can only help him. Given the choice many editors will chose the stories that serve their cause, getting Bush out of the White House, rather than one that hurts it.

“He’s right,” Reynolds writes. “But on the Internet, where users set the agenda, not Big Media editors and producers, it’s different. As Jeff Quinton notes, Nick Berg is the story that people care about.

Reynolds then quote a list of top-rated search terms, all about Nick Berg. (He bolsters his with anecdotes from newspaper editors, but the search terms are the heart of his argument.) People are searching for the Nick Berg video, but newspapers are talking about the Taguba Report. Proof! Proof that the media has a liberal bias! Proof that the media is out of touch!

So, so dumb. Some people are, no doubt, searching for the beheading video out of a desire to more fully comprehend current events, a desire they feel is not satisfied by mainstream news outlets. For better or worse, though, a lot more people probably just want to see a guy’s head get cut off. Lurid sex and violence have a big audience on the Internet. Reynolds and Sullivan and Boortz should be equally outraged by the lack of continued media attention to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, both of whom were in the top five Lycos search terms last week.

For that matter, why is Andrew Sullivan ignoring the Paris Hilton story? Is it because he’s out of touch with the American people? Or is it that the story helps Kerry and hurts Bush?

You can play this game yourself. Is there anything that can’t be used as a springboard for accusations of media bias?

(It’s not that Nick Berg’s murder is only as newsworthy as Paris’s videotape or Britney’s latest boyfriend–it’s a real and important story. But its popularity as a web search doesn’t come into the equation. Moreover, as Samuel Johnson points out, Abu Ghraib story is NOT getting excessive attention relative to police brutality cases in the U.S. Johnson also critiques of Reynolds’ woefully unscientific analysis.)

Ben Wikler
Posted 05.17.2004   Comments (293)

I diced a bunch of inbedded links when I slapped this in. Sorry.


Benny is one of Franken’s producers. He’s supposed to resemble an adult on this shitride. He’s the main “corporate” mouth on this blog, except when Godhead HizzBadSelf types in. It’s no wonder so many people bailed off this train. Reading through the comments makes you think high school kids are their core audience. Wait…rereading Arbitron book…okay, I take that last one back. They ARE their core audience.

THIS is how you’re gonna kick Rush’s ass?

Lotsa voters ya got workin’ there, buckos!

The whole, great mess is here.

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