Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My non-apology apology...*

For a while there, SHAMblog was breaking all sorts of "personal" records for weekly hits. I sense from the somewhat smaller number of discrete page views these past few days that some folks may feel I've lost focus a bit; I assume that not as many readers are forwarding the blog to friends and coworkers. I urge everyone to consider that nothing could be more central to the issues we've been discussing all along than the issues I've been weaving in of late. Media policy reinforces (even shapes) public perception, and if media policy is corrupt, as I believe it to be, that goes a long way toward explaining why so many eccentric, downright absurd, and possibly destructive beliefs have taken root in this culture. If The Truth is now end-user driven—such that you have to weigh consumer willingness to "accept" your info before you decide how, or even whether, to present it—we've indeed reached a very sad milestone in American thought.

* ...and yet also a shameless and self-serving plea for you to "hang in there"....


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Steve and urge you to keep up the lords' work, though do you see the irony here? You're worried about readership, so clearly you're having at some second thoughts about the type of material you present in your blog. Isn't that the same thing you criticize the major news media for?

Steve Salerno said...

I can see where you'd see it that way, but there are key differences. This is basically a single-theme blog. I am taking a clear advocacy position (or an UN-advocacy position, if you want to focus on my skepticism of self-help and related endeavors). I think I'm doing this on the basis of what I believe to be true--but I'm not at all in the same position as the media, who, really, are never supposed to take an advocacy position. They're just supposed to call it as they see it, day by day. Also, and equally important, there's no commercialism involved here. I want people to read my blog because I think it presents information that's important for them to have--information that is not being presented in other mainstream outlets. The major news outlets want people to watch their shows because there's a TON of MONEY involved. I would allege that to a disconcerting degree, they shape their news, and their style of coverage, based on what's going to generate the highest ratings, and thus the greatest advertising dollars. That's a terrible motivation when you're in the truth business, and a whole different scenario from what we have on SHAMblog.

Cal said...


Your points yesterday in "the ego has landed" are well taken. In fact, the post reminded me of a book I read recently. It was titled "Don't Believe Everything You Think" by Thomas Kida. He is a professor at UMass. He has six basic points. One of them is that we prefer anecdotes and stories to statistics. The news media, especially television, certainly plays to this instinct.

I have had conversations with friends about the glamour girls of CNN. I think it is a way to hook the male viewer in. Of course, women are constantly judged on looks. But within the last decade, television (both local and national) seems to make a conscious effort to have "babes" deliver the news. I notice it on Fox News also, but they seem to primarily employ women with blond hair (my perception).

It is a tough time in the news business. Wall Street does not respond kindly to anything but profits. All of the traditional media (TV, radio, and print) have suffered. I believe that some journalists would like to do more serious and rigorous work, but the business climate precludes it.

Cosmic Connie said...

Cal wrote: "I believe that some journalists would like to do more serious and rigorous work, but the business climate precludes it."

Precisely, Cal. And that's the same complaint we discussed in another post here, regarding the publishing industry.

I think it's all very relevant to SHAM -- and to our culture at large.

Keith Throop said...

I have only recently discovered your blog, but it has made it into my favorites. I understand why you have focused upon the media issues as you have, and I applaud and appreciate you for it.