Headlines sell, but I ain’t selling anything here. I don’t collect your data. Any data WordPress, the platform I use, may collect on you, I don’t use. I don’t know it. I make no money from it. I pay a fee instead of using WordPress’s free hosting so you won’t have to look at ads. If you see ads while you’re on my site, this is a mistake profiting WordPress, not me. Let me know if you see ads while sojourning here.
I do see stats, and I have noticed this: The more I post, and the darker, more alarmist the posts are, the more hits I get. It follows that if I were using this website as a profit maker, I’d do anything within reason, and one’s idea of what is within reason can stretch the bounds of ethical, to write anything that gets me the most hits, thus the most money. I think all modern media does the same. All media, modern or otherwise, has done the same since Gutenburg. Mundane makes for nothing.
I do not write about politics beyond the idea that the word politics is rooted in the Greek and refers to things that concern the people. We are all the people. It is not political to note that Fox News has a decidedly right slant. It is also not news to note that CNN has a decidedly left slant. If any of you can’t see those two things, then perhaps you might want to move on, though you’re welcome to stay.
I read a brief article that stated Jeff Zucker, CNN’s chief, is resigning. Maybe Jeff just wanted to retire, but maybe CNN’s recent 44% drop in key demographic ratings has something to do with it. CNN was in the ratings tank before Donald Trump became President; their stats all rose significantly during Trump’s tenure. Post-Trump, it looks like CNN is headed back towards its former near irrelevance, leaving one to ponder the idea that from a business standpoint, Donald Trump might have been a wonderful gift to CNN.
No matter what news source, no one simply disagrees. No one argues. No one denies. Everyone slams, flames, scorns, blisters, and blasts their political adversaries according to the headlines, then when you click on the link, you read to learn that the players merely disagreed and defended their positions. Outrageous headlines generate clicks.
Can you imagine a headline that reads, “Pelosi disagrees with McConnell.” Of course she does. It’s her job as House Speaker to be the mouthpiece for her party, which is in opposition to McConnell’s party. Disagreeing with Pelosi is McConnell’s job, just as then President Ronald Reagan disagreed with then House Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass). It was a bonafide part of their jobs. I mention Reagan and O’Neill because it was during their tenure I became fully aware of the nature or their roles as mouthpieces for their parties. As a general rule, those mouthpieces such as Senate Majority Leader and House Speaker never become President because people are too put off by them, as they are always seen in the media at their most acerbic. But acerbity, along with enmity, sells, even when it can’t produce a nationwide vote.
Since Joe Biden is President, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is House Speaker, and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is Senate Majority Leader and all are from the same party, with that party being the party that CNN seemed to favor, there are far fewer of those acerbic headlines, at least at the moment. Acerbic headlines will increase but in an untoward direction, since CNN cannot simply post them about Donald Trump anymore, because who cares? I fully expect the Democrats in power now to get some unexpected rough treatment from a press that was once favorable, ostensibly in the name of truth and journalistic integrity, but practically in the name of clicks and revenue. The press will cry fair. The formerly favored politicians will cry foul. The stock market will keep score.
I am not ignorant, nor anyone’s sycophant. I remember well when Bill Clinton’s Presidency thrust conservative, right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh into an over-driven big fame and broadcast stardom. Eight years of Bill Clinton was a boon for Limbaugh. Four years of Donald Trump have been a boon for CNN. CNN will miss the now irrelevant former President Donald Trump, whose irrelevancy will be as complete as that of Carter, Clinton, Bush43, and Obama. They all still have their fans and friends, but they are politically mostly irrelevant, which is the nature of former Presidents. Having served, they have earned their irrelevancy, I think.
Right this minute, brand new network executives in once plush but now spartan corner offices are pushing editors and writers to come up with more caustic verbs for use in headlines. Once they find them they’ll want to use them repeatedly, daily, hourly, which will lead to more clicks, which results in more revenue. Revenue. Revenue. It’s all about revenue. “This way to the egress,” the greatest showman on earth, Phineas T. Barnum, laughed all the way to the bank. “Give me more egresses.” Ol’ P.T. would have had egresses on every corner if he thought ignorant and naive people would have paid to see one.
As I said before, I may be naive about some things. But, I know an egress when I see one, and by golly, one is making itself available to me right now. I’m think I’m gonna use it. [grin]
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The relevance of this post to CLL is that I have CLL and wanted to write about it. I have no political position here other than to note that the media is all in for the media.
©2021 Mississippi Chris Sharp
One thought on “2/6/21 Headlines Sell”
I fear the USA is encompassed in a quake of very shaky ground and we are on a ledge of a precipice. Hold on…the ride is going to get rough!
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