WE’LL TAKE ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING
By James Strauss
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the mass media and why the entirety of the near united but not tied and bound outlets is reporting what it has got to have as a motivational factor. Waiting for some giant story the mass media knows about and the public does not, my first impression about why the media went completely and irrationally nuts about the Chinese and other balloons flying inside U.S. airspace.
The mass media is no good at keeping secrets, for one thing. The government, on the other hand, is quite practiced and good at it, in spite of the phony classified document stories. There just doesn’t seem to be some great story out there that all this covering up might be caused by. What is becoming apparent is that Trump despoiled more than the core of integrity that nation felt it always possessed and held dear. He also fired up a part of the population that tuned in. The masses of television watchers boomed when he made it into office. Many of these watchers were also contributors to him and other causes. Many of these watchers were new and had never spent much time watching any news at all on their T.V.s.
Sensing that real change was coming, and not caring (foolishly) what those changes might be, these normally sedentary and rural Americans found the news impossible to ignore, and along with their new leader they choose a new television news outlet called Fox. Fox quickly became the most successful news organization, by a substantial, margin over all the traditional network and cable news networks. But even those networks profited mightily because the overflow of watchers climbed so high in numbers. And then the great leader lost. Those watchers, over the course of the ensuing two years, did not just stop watching any television that didn’t have something about Trump in it, they stopped watching almost all television news whatever, on Fox or as presented by any other network.
So, where are we today as a new consuming nation? The Internet news operations either caved in or went away entirely. Drudge, for example, is a tiny remnant of what it once was. CBS, NBC, and ABC are now all outperforming Fox, but none of them, or Fox, have recovered the millions of followers they once had. That is the kind of effect that Trump has had on the mass media. What is to be done about it? How are those watchers to be recovered?
The answer has been sports. All the networks have thrown their lot in heavily with pro, college and other teams, big and small. That has buoyed up the bottom line but those massive payments for advertising and rights do not affect the news parts of these television giants. They giants have had to go after the other potential big fish swimming in the advertising sea now that Trump isn’t really much of a supplier of stunning and outrageous material. The nation is getting the classified documents garbage (which, incidentally, brings Trump back into the spotlight a bit), the Ukraine war and balloons. The earthquake in Turkey (and Syria, except Syria won’t let the foreign, or even local, media have any coverage at all) has also been brought in, although the devastation and loss of life is almost too much for even these news organizations, mostly lacking souls, but not finding the watching public too interested in watching endless scenes of debris piles when everyone knows that thousands of Turks are still under those piles dying very slow deaths.
No, balloons have been harmless excursions into territory that is loved (everyone loves balloons) while China is hated, or at least taught to be hated. Ukraine and Russia have settled down for the winter, by and large, and that won’t likely changed until May, when the billionaires meet to decide the economic future of the world in Davos, Switzerland. That is also where the wealthiest people on the planet congregate, and that collection is the only one that can feasibly fund the needs of Ukraine in order to bring that country on board to accept the peace settlement that’s been previously discussed and revealed in other Newsreels on this special site. The U.S. also has that kind of money, but the political division in this country is so substantially deep that republicans are never going to allow the release of the kind of money it will take to rebuild Ukraine. Davos is the only answer, not that those people part with money easily, although they are mostly smart enough, or have advisors that are smart enough to realized that a nuclear war would made every billionaire very quickly as poor as a church mouse if such a thing came to pass. While the winter still hangs over the country with snow still flying here and there and ice not yet surrendering to warming sunshine, it is a good time to sit by the fire and consider the clues that will still percolate through the mass media filters if one is watching and listening close enough.
Meanwhile, the mass media news, scrolling across television screens will continue to grab on anything it can find to keep advertisers beating down their doors.