Letter to the Media
SPECIAL REPORT: MUSEA WANTED TO KNOW JUST HOW RECEPTIVE THE NATIONAL AND LOCAL MEDIA ARE TO REASONABLE COMMENT AND CRITICISM - SO WE DID A LITTLE EXPERIMENT: WE SENT THE FOLLOWING LETTER TO A SAMPLING OF NATIONAL AND LOCAL TV NEWS SHOWS, NEWSPAPERS, NEWS MAGAZINES AND RADIO.
PLEASE READ THE LETTER BELOW, THEN SCROLL DOWN AND SEE FOR YOURSELF HOW EACH MEDIA SOURCE RESPONDED TO OUR QUESTIONS:
All letters mailed May 9, 1996
To All Concerned:
Musea, a monthly art publication, is doing a report on how responsive the media is to criticism. I am writing you all to ask if you would respond to the questions enclosed. Please answer within a month if possible. We'll be glad to print your replies. If you choose not to respond, we'll print that we received no response from you.
- Why is there hardly any editorials in TV journalism? Why are most newspaper editorials alike? Why is there so little diversity of opinions in the media?
- Why is there more coverage of the Arab/Israeli conflict than almost all other international news combined - including news of South America, Asia, and Sub-Sahara Africa?
- During sweeps week, do you alter the news in any way to raise ratings? If so, how?
- The media seems to direct its news more and more to a target audience of rich consumers 24-54 years old. Is this true? If not, in what specific ways are you addressing the concerns of Americans under 20, over 50, and/or those with limited incomes?
- This is a Catch-22 question. Do you think you have a responsibility to respond criticism from your viewers/readers. If so, why is there so little serious media criticism?
- Why, when almost every category of crime is dropping, is there so much coverage of violence in the media and so little mention of how much it is decreasing?
- Why do almost all the media outlets cover the exact same handful of stories - usually limited to politics, crime and scandal? Why is there so little variety in news coverage?
- Why do you seldom talk about how much media/art is controlled by so few conglomerates? Some estimate that as little as 25 corporations control almost all major newspapers, media outlets, film, book, music and TV production and/or distribution. (example - the "Big 6" control of the music industry). Does this concentration of power concern you? Why is there hardly ever any mention of the media or art outside of these conglomerates? Why is there no coverage of those leading a peaceful revolution against the control of media and art by so few?
- One of the greatest hazards to Americans is on-the-job accidents or death. Why does the media seldom cover these stories? Is the media soft on big business? Have you ever done a story against your parent company? Can you cite any examples?
- Do advertisers in any way effect what news you cover, what news you follow up, what news you don't cover? Would the media be better without advertising? Walter Cronkite is quoted as saying "(the media) has chosen to abandon their public responsibility in favor of stockholder demands for maximization of profits." Do you agree?
- Media critic James Fallows says the media spends too much time in conflict and too little time in informing the public. Do you agree?
- How do you think the media is doing? How do grade your own performance? Please give a grade of A,B,C,D or F. Media in general grade: _________ Your specific media outlet grade: ______
HOW THE MEDIA RESPONDED:
- New York Times: No Response
- USA Today: No Response
- Wall Street Journal:
- Dallas Morning News No Response
- Time: No Response
- Newsweek: No Response
Nightly News with Peter Jennings (ABC News): No Response
- 60 Minutes: No Response
- CNN: No Response
- McNeill Lehrer Report: No Response
- Channel 5 News (Dallas): No Response
KEWS (Dallas All News Station FM): No Response
WHAT DOES ALL OF THIS PROVE???
The Media has become ARROGANT and they've decided they'll answer to no one. Your opinion and my opinion mean nothing to them. The news will be what they choose it to be and they can't and won't be questioned about it. Their responsibility is only to get ratings and make money. They feel no responsibility to their viewers and readers. You and I are nothing to them but ratings points. The media has given up their journalistic integrity and they've become ARROGANT.
Back to Main Page.