Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Big Whammy

I know this is vague (deliberately so), but I just wanted to point out that I finally heard what I think is a pretty concrete example of why having radio talk show hosts also doing the news on the same radio station can result in some conflict of interest. Of course I can’t prove intentions, but I would swear the newscaster, who is of a different political persuasion than the presiding talk show host at the moment, used a factually inaccurate/misleading “news story” to, in effect, rebut the host during a news break. I could have stayed tune to listen to the newscaster do his own talk show and see if he brought up the same false information, but I can’t stand his show so I didn’t.
I understand the economics of the two-hats radio thing, but it does lead to at least the perception of bias in the news, and sometimes more than just a perception. I think it comes down to what you as a broadcaster take more seriously, promoting a point of view, or getting the news out. I think in this age of Fox News et al, some people really don’t see the difference. As I’ve written here many times before, I’ve done the news/talk thing but I saw myself primarily as a news person and the talk show as a vehicle for fun and sometimes politically charged entertainment. That was over 20 years ago. I think these days the news, other than say, local disaster coverage, is very much subservient to the more profitable airing of opinion.

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