Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Feet to the Fire - Ted Koppel

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Feet to the Fire - Ted Koppel

One theme that was repeated over and over again by Ted Koppel during his interview with Kristina Borjesson was that “hard” news is just a commodity. When it’s not in demand, advertisers aren’t willing to pay for ads, and the shows get dropped. Likewise, he attributes the high cost of foreign news coverage and lack of domestic demand to expense.

In one troubling supposition, Koppel contends, “Americans have always been a little bit narrow-minded about foreign reporting”. He then goes on to say, “I’m working for a network … which has a fraction of the people overseas today that we had overseas when I was a foreign correspondent.” So either Koppel's theory about news being a commodity is wrong, or Americans are only "a fraction" as interested in foreign events as our "narrow-minded" predecessors.

Near the end of the interview, Koppel reveals what he believes to be the result of Americans apathy towards real news.

“…the consequence of that is going to be that the United States goes through some difficult times over the next five or ten or fifty years, then eventually if not they, then their children will say, “You know something, we need to pay a little more attention to what is going on overseas.”

Hopefully sooner rather then later.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

Koppel makes a key argument: news coverage is function of demand. But how do we convince the public to care about foreign affairs without another traumatic event like 9/11? Koppel is not contradicting himself because the number of foreign correspondents also has to do with the amount that networks are willing to lose to cover the world. When network TV was very profitable, news budgets were bigger and losses were taken in stride because the profit margin was so high. The increasingly competitive media marketplace means less fat for prestige news operations and more pressure to cut costs.

5/01/2006 11:17 PM  

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