Saturday, January 27, 2007

Too much information?

There was an profile in the Washington Post Friday about CNN's Headline News' newest acquisition: Glenn Beck.

According to the article, Headline News is envious of Fox's ratings, so they hired a conservative to discuss the days issues in his own opinionated voice. But, as David Segal said in the article, Beck is a lot different from O'Reilly.

"While most sermonizing conservatives wait for a public debacle to expose their failings -- think of William Bennett and his slot-machine addiction, or Rush Limbaugh and his pill problem -- Beck and his many inner demons are on a first-name basis, and he's constantly introducing them to viewers. His alcoholism is just part of it."

I have seen his show. Beck does talk about his previous bouts with alcoholism, his religion, his attention deficit disorder, his religion, his former "jerkdom," etc.

But is it too much information?

Some may say yes, but in an age when even national news organizations are trying to show the viewers a different side to their anchors and reporters, what's wrong with Beck showcasing his downfalls? Those issues in his life made him who he is today.

My previous posts have talked about objectivity in the news and how it is non-existent. Beck is simply speaking his mind about world issues, but he is ALSO giving context to why he feels the way he does.

Segal said, "With Beck's show, Headline News is hoping that viewers will watch a guy wrestle with himself, as well as with C-list pundits."

We all grapple with the tough issues in the world and with ourselves. We can relate to Beck. Or, at least I can.

According to Beck's numbers more than 330,000 people can relate to him as well. Headline News said Beck's numbers have doubled since he started.

I wouldn't go to Beck's show to get the news of the day, I would tune into Beck to see a real-life "regular" guy grapple with the days events just as we may be.

Beck told Segal in the article: "I know what I believe, but I'm not an ideologue. I will ask, not just on TV but in the privacy of my own home, 'Gosh, is that right?'"



At Saturday, January 27, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

I think there are different kinds of programming for the same reason that each restaurant, retail store, etc. offers variety. Media is no different--we've got choices in what news we watch/read/listen to and they are as varied as the sections of a local paper. AND of all the sections, its the editorial page that is the only one truly free to editorialize simply in light of how it's presented.

I think its great, necessary, even fun to have different kinds of news but I think its important for media to explicityly classify their content according to what they are and not pitch them as something they are not. If
Beck is an editorilizing, opinion-driven talk show host then give him his due classification--that's how he's proven himself and his reputation deserves to influence how he is classified as a broadcaster.


At Sunday, January 28, 2007, Blogger Medill Media Watch said...

It can be too much information.

Give me context, but don't give me your life story.

Good for CNN for being "envious" of Fox's ratings. If envy prompts the network to present more varied perspectives in its programming, I say, go for it.

I applaud Beck for being upfront about his demons, but I don't want tales of his personal picadillos to detract from what I'm tuning in for - insight on the day's news.

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