If as a country, we want to have strong broadcast news divisions, then Americans have to actually watch network news. Instead of just getting all of their info from cable or online. We live in a liberal democracy, meaning people get to see what they watch. Rather than programming being forced on them.You can’t force people to do what is in their best interest and make the best decisions for themselves in a free society. Which is what a liberal democracy is, instead of what right-wingers want to portray liberal democracy just as the majority always rules. Voting only covers part of liberal democracy. What also comes with it is Freedom of Speech, including Freedom of Press. And again the news media which broadcast, as well as cable news is certainly part of, are not in the business to lose money. They can’t run up annual debts and deficits, like gee I don’t know, of yeah! Uncle Sam!
And this is coming from a hard news junkie who loves C-SPAN, and news and history documentaries. Who even watches those programs on the weekends instead of football in the fall and baseball in the summer. I also love football and baseball, but that is a different subject. Again, you can’t force people to do what is right for them in a free society. Not sure you can do that in authoritarian state either, as much as some have tried. People have a right to know what is going on in the world and what is important. But they also have a right to be vegheads and apparently violate their favorite celebrities personal privacy and know who they sleep with when their spouse or partner is out-of-town. Or what their favorite shoes are and so-forth. Or who is going to get kicked off of Tropical Island, or whatever the hell the hot tabloid show is.
You want broadcast news to be dominant player in the media again and do real hard news newscasts and for Nightline to become a real late-night newscast again, then people have to watch those shows. And to know what Congress and government in general does, actually affects them personally and economically. That politics and government, despite all the corruption in both. Even if that means not knowing what their favorite celebrity wore to the latest awards show, or what horrible thing was said about them at a party, or whose screwing who and so-forth and so on. But that only happens with education and I’m not just talking about being up to date on the latest celebrity news and technology. But actually knowing how government works and why it and current affairs in general are so important. Because we all pay for them whether we want to, or know it or not.
Thom Hartmann: Mike Papantonio- The Decline of Broadcast News