The Tabloid Public Is Not the Majority

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Harry Hope

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Jul 22, 2001, 9:46:06 AM7/22/01
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From a New York Times editorial, 7/22/01:
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/22/opinion/22KOHU.html?ex=996465600&en=7b358b51c02e6cac&ei=5040&partner=MOREOVER


The Tabloid Public Is Not the Majority

By ANDREW KOHUT

WASHINGTON --

The country has been inundated with news about Chandra Levy, the
missing Washington intern.

The coverage has seemed almost nonstop on cable television news, and
the story has been Topic A on the chat shows.

Even Dan Rather, who had resisted covering what he considered a
tabloid story, had to give in and let his news show include a summary
of the search for Ms. Levy and the initial reluctance of
Representative Gary Condit to help Washington police by talking with
them about his last meetings with her.

The relentless, sensational coverage might make observers despair
about the tastes and values of the American public.

But in fact, most Americans are not captivated by the Chandra Levy
story.

The latest nationwide news interest survey by the Pew Research Center
for the People and the Press finds only 16 percent of Americans "very
interested" in the story -- a low number not only in absolute terms,
but compared with the percentages of people highly interested in other
celebrity scandals that we have polled about over the years: the O. J.
Simpson story had 48 percent of respondents "very interested" at its
peak, and the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal had 36 percent.

Even less prominent incidents generated more intense interest than
Chandra Levy's disappearance: for example, the "very interested"
figure was 32 percent for both Mike Tyson's rape trial and Marion
Barry's legal problems, and 27 percent for William Kennedy Smith's
rape trial in Florida.

So what's going on here?

Are the news executives misguided about what appeals to their
audiences?

The answer is no.

Television news producers get instant feedback from the ratings, and
they know what makes the needle move.

But at the same time, what works for cable television shows watched by
relatively small audiences does not necessarily have broad public
appeal.

A central problem in television journalism today is that audiences are
so fragmented that it takes only a small increase or decrease to make
a big economic difference to the networks.

If a cable show regularly draws 600,000 viewers, an increase to
900,000 is a very big deal.

And all that's required is a story that appeals to the minority of the
public that is attracted to news about celebrities in trouble --
regardless of disinterest or even outrage about extensive coverage
from the majority of the public.

There is a tabloid audience that goes from one saga to the next.

Last year, at the height of the Elián Gonzáles news craze, a
nationwide Pew survey found that an extraordinary 61 percent of that
story's core audience had also been strongly attracted to news about
the death of John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash in 1999.

The overlaps did not stop there: fully 73 percent of those drawn to
news about Mr. Kennedy had been close followers of the unending
accounts of the untimely death of Britain's Princess Diana in 1997.

And it comes as no surprise that large percentages of each of these
core audiences had also been closely attentive to the O. J. Simpson
murder trial and the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.

Our poll found that one-third of the public followed three or more of
these stories -- about Elián, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Simpson, Princess
Diana, and Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky -- very closely.

The vast majority of the public (67 percent) was much less interested:
34 percent gave none of these tabloid best-seller stories a lot of
attention, and 33 percent were closely attentive to only one or two of
them.

So far the Chandra Levy audience has not matched those for the tabloid
heavyweights of the recent past, but these are slow news times even on
the tabloid scene.

The Levy-Condit story has become prominent enough to bring many of the
commentators whose faces became so familiar in the O. J. Simpson case
back to the TV screen.

Cable news and talk shows and the print tabloid media have little to
lose and much to gain in the short run by pitching to the hard-core
audience for celebrities' misfortunes.

But past surveys show the vast majority of the public is put off by
coverage of these stories that is so extensive as to be inescapable
for viewers.

Most Americans blanch at the blatant exploitation of the people being
covered, and they indicate in surveys that they feel the press pursues
stories like these not to protect the public interest, but to enlarge
audiences.

These same surveys show significant numbers of Americans doubting the
worth of the traditional watchdog role of the press.

One can only question the wisdom of alienating a large percentage of a
public that now has the ability to screen out the news it does not
want by turning to the Internet.

And despite the short-term gains from the tabloid news coverage, cable
and broadcast news audiences continue to decline.

____________________________________________________

The tabloid public seems to be comprised mainly of oversexed, panting,
drooling, revenge-seeking right wing voyeurs. That seems obvious.

Harry

"I think if you know what you believe, it makes it a lot easier to
answer questions. I can't answer your question."

Georgie W. "Dimwit" Bush - In response to a question about whether he
wished he could take back any of his answers in the first debate.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio, Oct. 4, 2000

Nap

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Jul 22, 2001, 10:40:14 AM7/22/01
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"Harry Hope" <riv...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
news:3b5ad62a....@nntp.ix.netcom.com...

>
> From a New York Times editorial, 7/22/01:
>
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/22/opinion/22KOHU.html?ex=996465600&en=7b358b
51c02e6cac&ei=5040&partner=MOREOVER
>
>
> The Tabloid Public Is Not the Majority
>
> By ANDREW KOHUT
>
> WASHINGTON --
>
> The country has been inundated with news about Chandra Levy, the
> missing Washington intern.

So, shut off your damned TV.

> The coverage has seemed almost nonstop on cable television news, and
> the story has been Topic A on the chat shows.

So, shut off the damned TV.

> Even Dan Rather, who had resisted covering what he considered a
> tabloid story, had to give in and let his news show include a summary
> of the search for Ms. Levy and the initial reluctance of
> Representative Gary Condit to help Washington police by talking with
> them about his last meetings with her.

So, shut off the damned Dan Rather.

> The relentless, sensational coverage might make observers despair
> about the tastes and values of the American public.

So, shut off the damned TV.

> But in fact, most Americans are not captivated by the Chandra Levy
> story.

Not Democrats. They only like Republican sex scandles. Democrat
sex scandles are only about sex, right? Snuff is just another valid form
of sex, that Republicans are just too uptight to get into.

If most Americans are not captivated by the story, why is the TV
media making a bundle off it? Are you saying they don't know their
business?

> The latest nationwide news interest survey by the Pew Research Center
> for the People and the Press finds only 16 percent of Americans "very
> interested" in the story -- a low number not only in absolute terms,

This is typical use of statistics to distort the facts. What was
the number for not interested?

TV stations read polls too. They use polls to determine what they'll
air.

[snip were Harry insults people who won't ignore Democrat
scandals.]

Yeah Harry. We expected you to do that.


BVallely

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Jul 22, 2001, 11:18:22 AM7/22/01
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<< The latest nationwide news interest survey by the Pew Research Center
for the People and the Press finds only 16 percent of Americans "very
interested" in the story -- a low number not only in absolute terms, >>


Actually, I was reading a reliable source just before stumbling across this
article.

CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. July 10-11, 2001. N=998 adults nationwide.
"Now I have a few questions about the case of Chandra Levy, the 24-year-old
Washington intern who disappeared more than two months ago. How closely have
you been following the news concerning the investigation into the disappearance
of Chandra Levy: very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at
all?"

Very closely 20
Somewhat closely 43
Not too closely 22
Not at all 15

So, 63 percent (when "very interested" and "somewhat interested" are combined)
of the country is interested learning more about Gary Condit, not 16 percent as
the New York Times would have you believe.

The New York Times is indulging in a practice known as "cooking the books."
They arrived at the low interest figure by hand picking the poll that gave the
number they like and simply and simply ignoring the second, "somewhat
interested" number.

The implication that a story must be OJ sized to warrant close attention is,
well, stupid. The New York Times has been firing staff members left and left.
The Fox News Network continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Who's the better
judge of what the American public wants to see?

Meanwhile, the New York Times stands alone, scratching it's collective head
with a rake, wondering why real news sources are going with Condit while
ignoring the latest outrage that President Bush made a grammar mistake.

Years ago, "Spy Magazine" spoke of "coasters" -- people who live off
acomplishments of their past. The New York Times very much falls into that
catagory. The Gray Lady decided that what 43 percent of the population wants
to know is not "fit to print." Playing with numbers in such a fashion are not
just tabloid tactics, it's BAD tabloid. Ignoreing 43 percent of the population
is not a thing that a "paper of record" would do.

The Truth

unread,
Jul 22, 2001, 11:31:51 AM7/22/01
to
riv...@ix.netcom.com (Harry Hope) wrote in
<3b5ad62a....@nntp.ix.netcom.com>:

...allowed the Republicans and Comrade Dubya Bush to steal the 2000
election!

yossarian

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Jul 22, 2001, 3:08:56 PM7/22/01
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"Nap" <an...@anon.com> wrote in message
news:iBB67.389164$p33.7...@news1.sttls1.wa.home.com...

>
> "Harry Hope" <riv...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
> news:3b5ad62a....@nntp.ix.netcom.com...
> >
> > From a New York Times editorial, 7/22/01:
> >
>
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/22/opinion/22KOHU.html?ex=996465600&en=7b358b
> 51c02e6cac&ei=5040&partner=MOREOVER
> >
> >
> > The Tabloid Public Is Not the Majority
> >
> > By ANDREW KOHUT
> >
> > WASHINGTON --
> >
> > The country has been inundated with news about Chandra Levy, the
> > missing Washington intern.
>
> So, shut off your damned TV.
>
> > The coverage has seemed almost nonstop on cable television news, and
> > the story has been Topic A on the chat shows.
>
> So, shut off the damned TV.
>

Too bad you can't get short wave TV.


> > Even Dan Rather, who had resisted covering what he considered a
> > tabloid story, had to give in and let his news show include a summary
> > of the search for Ms. Levy and the initial reluctance of
> > Representative Gary Condit to help Washington police by talking with
> > them about his last meetings with her.
>
> So, shut off the damned Dan Rather.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could get what you wanted on TV, rather than
1920's German style journalism of delation.

>
> > The relentless, sensational coverage might make observers despair
> > about the tastes and values of the American public.
>
> So, shut off the damned TV.
>

But what about all the cretins who eat all that stuff up. Should there be
some standards? These types can be convinced to get in the way of progress.


> > But in fact, most Americans are not captivated by the Chandra Levy
> > story.
>
> Not Democrats. They only like Republican sex scandles. Democrat
> sex scandles are only about sex, right? Snuff is just another valid form
> of sex, that Republicans are just too uptight to get into.
>

And people are getting snuffed by DU in Europe.


> If most Americans are not captivated by the story, why is the TV
> media making a bundle off it? Are you saying they don't know their
> business?
>

Because the broadcasters are "moroncasting". I blame the proliferation of
morons on evangelical Christians and the American Legion as well as
"moroncasting" itself. I guess when you raise children with a kick in the
ass, and nightmarish fairy tales of Hell, Satan, and Communism, the
instinctual, emotional part of the brain rides as the master. It's similar
to getting horse to lead the parade ass end first, which is quite spectacle
for the crowd for they get to see the terds flying out on first sight of
this noble steed.

> > The latest nationwide news interest survey by the Pew Research Center
> > for the People and the Press finds only 16 percent of Americans "very
> > interested" in the story -- a low number not only in absolute terms,
>
> This is typical use of statistics to distort the facts. What was
> the number for not interested?
>
> TV stations read polls too. They use polls to determine what they'll
> air.
>
> [snip were Harry insults people who won't ignore Democrat
> scandals.]
>

He insults people who vote against their own self-interests. For example,
the Walmart clerk who votes Republican, because she blames welfare for
making it hard for her to earn a living, and then surprise- her wages keep
sliding, because Walmart is so very anti-union, and gets away with it, since
the NLRB is so flaccid about workers rights. Thus things get harsher for our
working class hero, and she must blame gays for increasing the crime rate,
because some snake handling preacher told her so. You know, shit like that.


Yoss

pithy

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Jul 22, 2001, 1:45:48 PM7/22/01
to
In article <9jetji$c38$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>, yoss...@hotmail.com says...

The Condit thing is REALLY starting to embarras the dems.

Pravda on the Hudson is now trying to make it go away by
declaring it not to be news.

Better put some ice on that...

You must be too dim to look.


>
>>
>> > The relentless, sensational coverage might make observers despair
>> > about the tastes and values of the American public.
>>
>> So, shut off the damned TV.
>>
>
>But what about all the cretins who eat all that stuff up. Should there be
>some standards? These types can be convinced to get in the way of progress.
>

Give the people what they want. Isn't that what liberals support?


>
>> > But in fact, most Americans are not captivated by the Chandra Levy
>> > story.
>>
>> Not Democrats. They only like Republican sex scandles. Democrat
>> sex scandles are only about sex, right? Snuff is just another valid form
>> of sex, that Republicans are just too uptight to get into.
>>
>And people are getting snuffed by DU in Europe.
>

Thank Herr Klinton for that.


>
>
>> If most Americans are not captivated by the story, why is the TV
>> media making a bundle off it? Are you saying they don't know their
>> business?
>>
>Because the broadcasters are "moroncasting". I blame the proliferation of
>morons on evangelical Christians and the American Legion as well as
>"moroncasting" itself. I guess when you raise children with a kick in the
>ass, and nightmarish fairy tales of Hell, Satan, and Communism, the
>instinctual, emotional part of the brain rides as the master. It's similar
>to getting horse to lead the parade ass end first, which is quite spectacle
>for the crowd for they get to see the terds flying out on first sight of
>this noble steed.
>

Right--and I'm sure you were the first to condemn the
coverage of Packwood.


>
>> > The latest nationwide news interest survey by the Pew Research Center
>> > for the People and the Press finds only 16 percent of Americans "very
>> > interested" in the story -- a low number not only in absolute terms,
>>
>> This is typical use of statistics to distort the facts. What was
>> the number for not interested?
>>
>> TV stations read polls too. They use polls to determine what they'll
>> air.
>>
>> [snip were Harry insults people who won't ignore Democrat
>> scandals.]
>>
>He insults people who vote against their own self-interests. For example,
>the Walmart clerk who votes Republican, because she blames welfare for
>making it hard for her to earn a living, and then surprise- her wages keep
>sliding, because Walmart is so very anti-union, and gets away with it, since

Hillary sat on Wal-Mart's Board of Directors for several years.

Hairy let her get away with that.

>the NLRB is so flaccid about workers rights. Thus things get harsher for our
>working class hero, and she must blame gays for increasing the crime rate,
>because some snake handling preacher told her so. You know, shit like that.
>
>
>Yoss
>
>> Yeah Harry. We expected you to do that.
>>

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"I was born in 1935. I remember when people were ashamed to
be on welfare and receive state aid and all that, but we developed
a situation where black people to a large degree and a lot of other
groups such as elderly people, children and a lot of poor white
people ended being harnessed by political forces, particularly the
Democratic Party. In return for the federal appropriations that we
now dependent upon, our leaders were obligated to get out the
black vote for the Democratic Party."
--Eldridge Cleaver
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Garrett

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Jul 22, 2001, 2:05:53 PM7/22/01
to
Nap wrote:

> "Harry Hope" <riv...@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
> news:3b5ad62a....@nntp.ix.netcom.com...
>

> http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/22/opinion/22KOHU.html?ex=996465600&en=7b358b
> 51c02e6cac&ei=5040&partner=MOREOVER


> > But in fact, most Americans are not captivated by the Chandra Levy
> > story.
>
> Not Democrats. They only like Republican sex scandles.

I didn't know that Republicans had sex.

--
"No one lies so much as the indignant man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Garrett

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Jul 22, 2001, 7:18:26 PM7/22/01
to
pithy wrote:

> In article <9jetji$c38$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>, yoss...@hotmail.com says...
> The Condit thing is REALLY starting to embarras the dems.

I'm not a Dem, but I don't see why it's such a big deal.
It's not like Condit did anything wrong other than having
an affair with a younger woman.

> Pravda on the Hudson is now trying to make it go away by
> declaring it not to be news.

But then if you think that NYT is Pravda, then you don't
have a grasp of reality anyway.

pithy

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Jul 22, 2001, 10:49:33 PM7/22/01
to
In article <3B5B5F42...@yahoo.com>, midt...@yahoo.com says...

>
>pithy wrote:
>
>> In article <9jetji$c38$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>, yoss...@hotmail.com says...
>> The Condit thing is REALLY starting to embarras the dems.
>
> I'm not a Dem, but I don't see why it's such a big deal.
>It's not like Condit did anything wrong other than having
>an affair with a younger woman.

Well, holding back information from the police that may be
pertinent to a missing person investigation is a bit more
serious than a pecadillo.

That's what really drives the story, in case you're confused.

Sounds like you are.

>> Pravda on the Hudson is now trying to make it go away by
>> declaring it not to be news.
>
>But then if you think that NYT is Pravda, then you don't
>have a grasp of reality anyway.

If you don't think the NY Times has a strong liberal bias
that influences its news reporting, you're either intellectually
dishonest or rather dim.

Hope that helps.

>--
>"No one lies so much as the indignant man."
> - Friedrich Nietzsche
>
>
>

--

Nap

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Jul 22, 2001, 11:46:56 PM7/22/01
to

"Garrett" <midt...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:3B5B5F42...@yahoo.com...

> pithy wrote:
>
> > In article <9jetji$c38$1...@nntp9.atl.mindspring.net>,
yoss...@hotmail.com says...
> > The Condit thing is REALLY starting to embarras the dems.
>
> I'm not a Dem, but I don't see why it's such a big deal.
> It's not like Condit did anything wrong other than having
> an affair with a younger woman.

I don't think it's a big deal either. So he's sleeping with 10 women
and is into strange sex. I don't care that he's a pervert. Demos have
rights too, and I'm sure that they admire the guy for it.

> > Pravda on the Hudson is now trying to make it go away by
> > declaring it not to be news.
>
> But then if you think that NYT is Pravda, then you don't
> have a grasp of reality anyway.

Pravda was more subtile.


Te...@webtv.net

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Jul 23, 2001, 12:38:54 AM7/23/01
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Te...@webtv.net

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Jul 23, 2001, 12:41:16 AM7/23/01
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