Are the broadsheets and TV doing this kind of stuff much as do the tabloids?
Arg: that with the expansion of newspapers and 24/7 TV the space has to filled and if nonsense will do then nonsense it is but that does NOT mean that the high quality stuff is being removed. BUT against Barnett (and Annan Report – remember?),
one might argue that the good is being crowded by the bad…and should we let that happen or should we a la PSB Reithian ideals push the good at the expense of the bad…and can we do this in a massively commercial media marketplace? (note Barnett was writing before DTV)
And as Barnett acknowledges:
and Children’s TV is heartland PSB genre
2nd argument strategy:
Serious news is not presented in a serious way…
Now this may come down to packaging – which may simply be that but the info detail is still there; but it just does not have the authoritative ponderous tone that it was once given
And this may be a good thing if it reaches out and does not actually dumb done even though it LOOKS like it does.
But if it means that even serious stuff is glossed
the BLT approach – keep it bright, light, trite
then this is altogether more of a dumbing down charge. Take today’s release of the diplomatic cables by Wikileaks...If the coverage merely highlights some of the ‘schock horror revelations but does not explain their meaning or context, their implications, then the quality of news as more than tittle-tattle is lost.
And as Barnett points out the ‘light’ in BLT may extend to amount of time spent on a topic – a few seconds in case it loses the audience cos the story has been pre-categorised as boring. Assumes the audience can’t cope with in-depth (at least 2 minutes) info.
and talking about the way political ads tend to try to make serious stuff extertainment..
Should it do this?
Does it succeed?
Mix the serious with the skateboarding duck (BBC1 news magazine prog in 70s/80s- Nationwide)
But what if tickling the public turns into scandal mongering with the illusion of conveying significant imfo – the justification of the NoW and most of the tabloid press for exploring the worlds of famous people – whilst arguing that those who say they shouldn’t are just the elite London intellectual middle classes and that this is just snobbery.
The argument goes further – that this kind of so-called investigative journalism obscures ‘real’ investigative journo into serious things such as government corruption etc.
And what if journalism cosies up to their sources in say war reporting or in politics – to get more info if they play along with their sources?
and this undermines their critical questioning attitude...and the role of the media to get us to question what is happening in the world and sifting the info is thereby undermined.
Scheduling as dumbing-down…
Why has Panorama been put back to late night viewing in the scheduling?
This problem cuts across the point earlier on about saying that there is simply more and more info – the 24/7 culture but the good info is still there – it is not being drive out..but here we are saying that it nonetheless is being drive to the margins of TV and the press.
Coverage of the impending Royal Wedding on pp. 1 -25 & 30 – 32 etc etc?
Thus what might pass for serious current affairs type stuff in format might actually be covering BLT type crrent affairs or of the ‘ooh, look at that Ethel’ type stuff.
But how do we define what is not important?
What do you think?
But what I other forces – the market and marketisation and ‘consumerism’ of the public occurs?
and if ever more sophisticated marketing analysis tells the managements and the programme controllers that the public lie this or that and do not give a toss about horrors in obscure countries then they get the local (uk based) shock horror stories which entertain no matter what?
And this kind of argument sort of leans on the kind of point Adorno put forward in his writings in the 40s and 50s – that capitalism and the drive to profits – lead to techniques for training us up to like and expect winning formulae – we are not only pandered to as consumers but we have been trained up for the part to want sparkly exciting things irrespective of their moral, cultural, politic-economic significance.
And of true this may come not from the squeezing out of serious stuff, but from the overwhelming emphasis in a competitive commercial media on sparkly trivia. It create a kind of trash culture where the reflection of private concerns is seen s more real and important than the public sphere..and that obviously is not just training but a psychological aspect which is harnessed by the audience grabbing media.
But is I a defense of the popular to simply say that they are giving us the truth even if it is a cheap truth – but it is news because it commands an audience?
Barnett tends to equate dumbing-down with tabloidisation, but of course much of it turns on what happens to a public culture of informed debate..and this sets the terms for what is good and what is bad news – the kind of stuff that we ought to know if we want to live in a free open democracy.