‘It’s Not News’: Glenn Beck and John Ziegler Discuss News Media’s Obsession With Ratings

During an interview with Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, Mediaite columnist John Ziegler sat down with Beck to talk about a number of things. At one point, the two discussed how the news media has shifted away from substantive coverage over the years.

As Ziegler noted, years ago there were fewer channels on television and no 24-hour cable news networks. News coverage on television and radio could concentrate on more substance, as having a TV or radio station back then was “a license to print money.”

However, the business model has changed and there are now far more options. Therefore, you have the “tail wagging the dog” with the audience dictating what hosts will cover and discuss, highlighting how he’d seen the shift himself as a radio host. Beck would go on to relate some of what he experienced as a cable news host.

Following Beck bringing up the Malaysian plane crash as an example of news media becoming obsessed with a topic because an audience flocks to it, Ziegler pointed out that the advent of overnight television ratings is what now drives coverage at cable news networks.

Bringing up a situation where he personally had an interview get bumped due to “breaking news” about the missing plane that wasn’t actually breaking, Ziegler said he realized it was happening because CNN had just received the previous night’s ratings and realized they needed to concentrate on more plane news.

“It’s not news,” he explained. “It’s placating the audience. Because when you’re dealing with a fragment of an already fragmented audience, you get the slightest blip — especially when you’re CNN during a slow news period — you run with it.”

Ziegler appeared on The Blaze for a series of interviews to discuss the Penn State scandal ahead of the upcoming trial of former Penn State President Graham Spanier. You can check out his recent media appearances revolving around the topic here.

Watch the clip above, via The Blaze.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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