Trying to find a way to be fair
In the course of writing over 700 blog entries with well over 100,000 reads to date, only once has a reader acknowledged me changing his mind
... so I am under no delusion that writing in my blog is going to change minds.
... but if I didn't vent, I'd explode, and - as an engineer - I like to find constructive solutions to the problems the mainstream media has in reporting fairly on the issues, so here goes.Update
: I found a site that did a simple, scientific analysis of the recent debate, counting the words each candidate was allowed to say
. It's rather revealing, but I'll let the numbers speak for themselves
Open letter to the mainstream media, particularly CNBC
Your credibility is in the toilet.
Here are some some ways to have fairer reporting on electoral candidates.
0) Install an applause-meter at the debates. Show it, live, during the debates. Report on this measurable statistic for, say, the top 20 statements made by the candidates.
1) Track and report on the screen time given the candidates as well. Obviously this measurable statistic affects the statistic above... The combination of these two factors, displayed on screen in a NFL-sports style, would actually be pretty interesting, and revealing, I think. I'd be glad to help you program it.
If you don't do this, I figure somebody on youtube, will. It's easy enough to analyze the volume of sound coming from the recordings after all - 'course, MSM, you could always hire someone to ride the gain when things you disagree with are said... perhaps an applause meter needs to be wielded by an independent organisation, like the UN....
2) Require logins on your online polls. It does sacrifice anonymity somewhat, but would increase fairness.
3) Accept that the internet population is different from the population that answers the phone in your so-called 'scientific' polls, as is the population that knows enough about cell phones to send text messages. Report on all of it... do some real investigative journalism on who is voting online, cell, and phone - and publish that. PLEASE.
4) Collect statistics on what sort of web browser and OS your online pollers are using. Hell, feel free to publish the geographic distributions of the ip addresses and cell phone numbers you are collecting as part of the polling process. At one level this is spam protection - at another level it would give the electorate a glimpse at what places are internet or cell phone strongholds for the candidates.
Now I realize that implementing these suggestions would take resources away from other tasks you have, like advertising, and live coverage, and punditry and spin... so here's a few ways to save some money on your coverage, and also improve accuracy.
5) Kill off 90% of your talking heads. When I see the hours and hours of analysis and false controversy created by your tacky network appointed pundits I can't help but think that the American people would be better served by you merely assembling footage of what each candidate actually said, and redisplaying it. I note that youtube users are already doing this - for free - and it's wonderful. I've now seen hours and hours and hours of footage of most of the major candidates, and have made my decision on who to support largely based on that.
(note to your execs - your coverage would then be cheaper, too)
6) Stop paying attention to candidate funding - entirely. If you've forgotten, America was a democracy, not a plutocracy, last I looked. Or maybe I missed the memo?
That's all I can think of for now. Thanks for listening.
Labels: clinton, cnbc, debates, election 2008, fairness, fox news, mainstream media, msm, msnbc, republicans, Ron Paul