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  • The Media-Focus Problem

    Posted by David Foster on March 18th, 2020 (All posts by )

    It’s well understood that media entities like to focus on the negative–‘if it bleeds, it leads.’  But there’s also another media behavior problem worth noticing…

    Cable TV networks, especially, tend to focus obsessively on whatever the hottest issue is at the moment, and absolutely beat it to death to the exclusion of any attention to *other* important things going on…until one of those other things get so important and so bad that it displaces the previous obsession and the cycle repeats.  To borrow a term from the field of computer operating systems, you could think of it is a single-thread way to approach the world. And in the field of combat aviation, there is a phrase, Target Fixation, to describe the situation where a pilot is so focused on his target that he flies into a mountain or does something equally disastrous.

     

    4 Responses to “The Media-Focus Problem”

    1. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Cable TV networks? Are they still around??

    2. David Foster Says:

      A few people watch them…

      https://deadline.com/2019/12/cable-ratings-2019-list-fox-news-total-viewers-espn-18-49-demo-1202817561/

    3. James the lesser Says:

      Were it not for the media taste for malice, I’d compare them to Mr. Toad in _Wind in the Willows_

    4. MCS Says:

      Sometime or other what I call moon shot coverage went from being reserved for moon shots to routine with a concomitant need to magnify today’s thing out of all proportion. The big names with the grave expressions, sitting there endlessly repeating the same trite details, occasionally interrupted by some remote not quite so big name with a grave expression informing them of some irrelevancy. I stopped watching 20 years ago with a lot of other people.

      If I haven’t run my nose into something, there will be plenty of time to catch up when the dust has had a chance to settle.