Friday, April 02, 2010

The Pathetic Media Coverage of the Off-Shore Drilling Decision

Jason Linkins has a post on the Huffington Post about media coverage of Obama's offshore drilling decision, and it's right on:
Media Drills Vapidity On Drilling Into Our Faces
So, as most of you know by now, President Barack Obama came straight out of the blue this week with a decision to start up some crazy new offshore drilling campaign. I thought the decision was pretty strange myself -- but, hey, it's an opportunity to ask some pretty substantive questions.
For example: What changes can we expect in terms of our oil imports from the Middle East? Has the technology of drilling gotten better--are we less likely to experience the devastation of another oil spill? How is this decision going to affect the bottom line of oil companies? Will they reinvest this money back into America's devastated communities? Will they reinvest in energy solutions that are sustainable? In solutions that promote further independence from foreign oil? Is this going to increase jobs.

When I read these media stories -- primarily in the NY Times, the LA Times, and on Yahoo News -- I primarily wanted to know how much oil there is estimated to be offshore, and how will this affect our supply.

NOT ONE of these articles told me. Without this basic bit of information it's impossible to make a judgement about whether this is a good idea or not.

I finally has to resort to Wikipedia, which suggests offshore drilling will contribute an additional 1.6% to US domestic oil supply and that this will only happen after 2017, and not affect gasoline prices at all. And why should I believe Wikipedia?

Scientific American in 2008 has a much, much better article on it all.

The canonical news sources were useless, and only seemed to be rewriting govt press releases. This is abysmal and embarrassing and angering, and if that's the best the LA Times can do then, yes, they deserve to go out of business, because frankly, many specialized journalists and bloggers can do it much, much better.

Rant over.


rhhardin said...

The MSM are a business, and their product is not news but you.

They sell your eyes to advertisers.

Unfortunately for the MSM nobody actually wants hard news (think city council meetings), except for one-offs that might be exciting for a few days. So most people can't pay the bills.

The only audience that keeps coming day in and day out is soap opera women. They're easy to attract and easy to hold, but it's with the news product that you see.

No story will run that does not hold the interest of soap opera women, lest they tune away.

So that's what you get.

I'm sure you heard everything about drilling that would interest soap opera women, and nothing more.

Whether this business model will work is an open question, but it's this or nothing.

Soap opera women = 40% of women, a minority but big enough perhaps.

It's also why the MSM is left wing. That's an accident of interests.

Dano said...

The em-ess-em used to be a way for citizens to be informed. No longer, esp after corporations got ahold of the em-ess-em to have another channel to sell us products.