Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review July 25, 2002 / 16 Menachem-Av, 5762

Matt Towery

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports


Media snobs need to look beyond New York, D.C.


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Has anyone noticed that for all their claims of wanting to represent the opinion of "average Americans" in the content of their programming, the national TV news and talk channels seem to be moving in the opposite direction?

For example, while making a rare CNN broadcast from the CNN Center in Atlanta, that network's Aaron Brown referred, perhaps humorously -- the dour Brown is apparently capable of humor -- to the birthplace of the cable giant as CNN's "southern bureau." Humorous or not, plenty of those working at the Atlanta office took note of his comment. Some of them interpreted Brown's barb to mean that crazy old Ted Turner might have built CNN into a household name, but now the experts from New York and Washington, D.C., are here to set things straight.

Oh yeah? Has anyone noticed CNN's pitiful ratings slide lately? They are hardly reflective of a news organization that prides itself on being in tune with what we'll call "the heartbeat of America." That is, providing that America still has a heartbeat after being lulled to sleep by more pseudo-intellectual programming and tired "big names" who collect big paychecks and produce few results.

And while Ted Turner may be as liberal as they come and capable of doing or saying just about anything, no one can deny that in the early 1980s he took on the traditional media establishment with his innovative programming from a location that wasn't even acknowledged by the industry.

Of course, it didn't take long before "the big boys" showed up to "rescue" Turner. He has to be wondering about a company that has lost much of its market value since then, while treating the CNN it inherited from Turner as a redheaded stepchild. He also must be entertaining the notion that those "slick Yankees" performed more of a con job than a rescue job in wresting away control of CNN from his clutches.

Then there's FOX News, which has captured an increased share of the news/talk cable TV market, at least in part by giving the more moderate-to-conservative voices in America a forum in which to air their views. And to FOX's credit, they have built up their own stable of homegrown big names by providing a forum for rising stars like Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity to show their stuff.

Still, whether it's CNN, FOX, or the real up-and-comer CNBC/MSNBC, there is one thing you can be sure of: You're bound to see the same old New York /D.C. crowd broadcasting from -- you guessed it -- New York or D.C.

The current revamp of NBC's two cable news channels is a perfect example. Jerry Nachman, the new man in charge of MSNBC, is probably the most "in-touch" person in TV news. Formerly with the New York Post, Nachman also was a breath of fresh air during his stint as a producer in Los Angeles for another network. Eventually he returned to New York to create a very entertaining and balanced new lineup of programs for MSNBC.

Between the more financially oriented CNBC and the more news-oriented MSNBC, viewers can access a cross-section of American political and economic views. Conservative financial wizard and JWR columnist Larry Kudlow balances out the more liberal and flamboyant Jim Cramer on their nightly show. Then there's America's most beloved bleeding heart, Phil Donahue, the brilliant but ultra-conservative Pat Buchanan, and Washington's ultimate insider, Chris Matthews, who among "insiders" actually knows what he's talking about. Here's a bet that these dueling NBC cable channels will succeed.

But even today's programming that continually searches for freshness and real balance in coverage lacks one thing -- inclusiveness for the rest of America. Speaking as one who regularly views these programs for reasons both professional and personal, I grow weary of seeing broadcast sets designed to remind us that a small geographical corridor of the Northeast is the source of all the news. And the same tired old guests -- many of whom have never run a successful business or political campaign, and who seem endlessly to repeat the same obvious truisms over and over -- fill our screens night after night.

In his wildly popular book "Bias," Bernard Goldberg honed in on the media's habit of leaning to the left on many political and social issues. But geographical bias is a problem, too. I, for one, would like to see a talk show program out of a state like Texas, Florida, or a city that reflects everyday America -- say, St. Louis or Cincinnati.

The fact is that we are lucky to have so many varied and talented voices filling the airwaves for all of us news and talk show junkies. But the next time one of those Northeastern professionals starts claiming to know what the rest of America is thinking, ask yourself, how can he or she be so sure? An Omaha headquarters with a New York bureau might take a little of the snob out of the Aaron Browns of the world.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




Comment on JWR columnist Matt Towery's column by clicking here.

07/18/02: A letter to President Bush from Outside the Beltway
07/11/02: Dear President Bush: An effort in futility
07/03/02: Updates and freedom
06/27/02: The coming election: Seeking change for the sake of change?
06/20/02: The inside story re the political future of controversial GOPer Bob Barr
06/11/02: On dirty bombs and scare-mongering: Sometimes a columnist wishes he was wrong
06/06/02: The emerging confused GOPer?
05/30/02: In search of an aggressive GOP leader
05/21/02: Anticipating new terrorism: "Dirty bomb" is no fantasy!
05/16/02: The oddity of Carter's legacy
05/09/02: Replay of 1992 coming?
05/02/02: The hottest family on television might have to abandon the United States
04/25/02: One step ahead of devious minds capable of unthinkable crimes?
04/18/02: Alaskan battleground?
04/11/02: How the peaceful fairways of the world's most revered golf course, may serve as a brilliant strategic battleground the most recent round of "cola wars"
04/05/02: The most likely immediate threat to our national security is being ignored
03/14/02: Clinton's influence looms
03/07/02: Poll turns up surprising views on Bush and more
02/21/02: The recession is over --- so why are the sophisticates still using scare tactics?
02/14/02: This Enron story directly affects our own pocketbooks
02/07/02: The epicenter of quiet but powerful shifts in the American political landscape
01/31/02: A little bipartisan hope
01/24/02: Secrets of the past can often provide guidance for dealing with the future
01/18/02: And I thought explaining Jane Fonda was tough
01/09/02: Dubya falling into Dems' trap?
01/02/02: A few adjustments and 2002 might turn out all right
12/27/01 Rudy, the 'perfect excuse'?
12/19/01 Haig the madman?
12/12/01 That senator with the funny name

© 2001, Creators Syndicate