"If it bleeds, it leads" has never been so accurate as we’re seeing in today’s 24/7 news cycle.

What’s happened to journalism? When did who, what, where, when, why and how take a back seat to make it up to appease your customer base?

When News Was Really News

In today’s world, it’s hard to believe that at one time Walter Cronkite of the CBS Evening New was considered the most trusted man in America.

No one before — no one since. How did news reporting go from factual information to the reporter’s point of view?

It’s All About Money

When I was growing up there were only three TV networks available: ABC, NBC and CBS. All had nightly news at 6 and 11.

News in those days was subsidized by commercial programing. Half-hour sitcoms and one-hour dramas paid for the news.

Fast-forward to 1990 and along comes CNN, Headline News, MSNBC, CNBC, and Fox. All are now fully dependent on paid advertisers — no subsidies.

So there’s news — and then there’s news that’s tailored to whatever audience the advertisers need to reach.

Ratings have little importance as long as advertisers are convinced that their target markets are getting the message. And if spinning the news a little here and there makes that happen then so much the better.

The result is that a story on one news outlet might be completely unrecognizable on another. Points are put in and others left out based on studies on what that demographic audience wants to see and hear.

A news story can either put a tear in your eye or a smile on your face. Both are acceptable as long as advertisers keep renewing their ad contracts.

Some Final Thoughts

Imagine what we’d hear each day if the news was honest and accurate? That would sure be a refreshing change. Real reporting devoid of political correctness and ideological spin?

Imagine all the talking heads vying for the “most trusted man in America” title? But I guess those days are gone forever.

If it bleeds it leads will continue to be the order of the day. Substance and accuracy gives ways to biased opinion.

Fact checking is even suspect depending on who’s doing the checking. You might as well look for real news on the side of a milk carton. It’s obviously missing.

Someday we’ll find real news, probably in some museum. Right next to the Passenger Pigeon and Dodo bird.

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