Commercialisation vs. Journalism

“What you see on nightly news […] is now being imposed upon by commercial entities so that, for example, ABC news now promotes Disney programs. But now we are into an era where what’s happening on commercial television and radio, there is this pressure to conform to a commercial take on what news is or what the news should be.”

Diane Rehm

Remember the time Anderson Cooper interviewed Dora The Explorer?

dora 2
The look of “what the heck happened to my career?”

Or when Jim Lehrer interviewed WordGirl?

I mean, who even is Jim Lehrer?

It’s never really going to be possible to have an independent and impartial news media when the news media has to answer to either the government or advertisers due to funding. If a media corporation receives funding primarily from the government, there is going to be a sense of softly acting out the classic “watchdog role” – but only enough as to not step on any toes. If a media corporation receives funding primarily through advertising revenue, then there is going to be a sense that the news needs to bend in certain ways in order to adhere to the advertisers demands.

I’ve been watching The Collision of Journalism and Consumerism a fair bit over the last year or so – mainly because it is chock full of awesome quotes from world renowned journalists – but the essential argument central to the piece is that as long as journalism is funded by, and motivated by, consumerist values, then true impartiality is something that cannot be achieved in journalism.

It’s a worthwhile documentary too – if you’ve got the time:


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