Some days I see television as just a little bad programming sandwiched between news and advertising.

News is all about bad things: murders, wars, storms, floods, pestilence, kidnappings.  As the news people say, “If it doesn’t bleed… it doesn’t lead.”

Advertising, on the other hand, is all about good news.  We want to tell people about the positive side of products, services and ideas.  Visit beautiful Detroit, there is so much to see.  Really?  Well. If the Detroit Tourism Authority wanted advertising that’s what it would say.

These days network news and advertising share a credibility gap.  Neither one is considered trustworthy.

Why?  Because they both stretch a theme way too far.  And they both borrow from each other, despite being on opposite ends of the good news/bad news spectrum.

A friend of mine put his finger on it when he noticed that News now includes logos for important stories.  It isn’t a major news story without a logo.

This is an idea borrowed from advertising and something we have noted in this blog.  When you name something it is more important.  You brand the story and graphically reinforce it because people can remember graphics better than words.

Once you name it, the news story has to continue to be flogged until it is a sorry piece of rubble and no one, not even a retired schoolteacher in Moose Jaw, has any interest.

And flogged is understating the repetitive nature of the all news stations.  Maybe they learned frequency of exposure from advertising.

Does this sound far fetched:  “We are standing outside the office of a man who once road the bus with the victim and we are awaiting comment.  He has yet to appear but let me speculate on his relationship with the victim in order to fill a few minutes of air time.  We can only ask, is he a person of interest to the police?  And, if so, why?”  Back to the desk where there are questions to the “reporter” asking what basis the police consider this poor sod to be a person of interest.

If the public wears out on the story (and you can also read our blog on commercial wearout) then the story retires and awaits a real new element for relaunch as we saw recently with the Picton Murders from British Columbia.  There are 24 hours of news to fill and a strong predilection to only broadcast bad news; so what is a poor new source to do?

News credibility can’t survive this way.  Where will we get our information?  From Twitter?  News organizations have become transparently obvious in their biases.  Flip between the BBC News, CNN, Fox or CTV.  Each country has a different spin.  Is Al Jahzeera any more honest than CNN?  None of them is completely honest and they don’t seem to care.

Like advertising, they are just catering to their customers.

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