High Programmer > Blog Archive > Why doesn't the media cover puppies looking cute?
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Why doesn't the media cover puppies looking cute?

A day or two ago I heard a caller on Wisconsin Public Radio repeat the old complaint that the media wasn't covering all of the progress in Iraq, on all of the good things happening. The insinuation is that the media is showing some sort of bias, emphasizing the bad and ignoring the good.

I can only conclude that the caller, like others holding this belief, is so pro-Bush that they're willing to say absurd things, or that this fellow has no idea how media works. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's simply ignorant.

Earth-shattering revelation: Bad news draws a larger audience than good news. Large earthquake in California? Front page news coverage. People are successfully rebuilding from the earthquake? Page 6, if you're lucky. Forest fires sweeping the west? Hourly updates. Firefighters are bringing things under control? Gradually decreasing coverage, finally reaching zero coverage when the fires are finally extinguished.

Complaining that there isn't much coverage of people getting power back to the Iraq people is like complaining that there aren't enough stories about kittens being rescued from trees. The American news audience assumes that our government is trying to rebuild things. News would be that the people trying to rebuild Iraq are fleeing, or that our government is being gouged by companies handling the contracting.. If you want to about the problems in world turn on the news. If you want stories of bridges being rebuilt, stories of heroism, and studies on how fuzzy puppies are look elsewhere for it.

Edit 2004-04-27: Typo fix, thanks Chuck4.

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