Republicans constantly act like they are the big champions and defenders of the free market, but a couple of stories this past few weeks show that is not the case.
First off is the George Zimmerman trial. Now you may wonder what that has to do with a post about the free market, but it does, especially when it comes to the actual trial and the coverage it got.
During the trial Republicans constantly bashed the televised trial as making a mockery of our judicial system. Honestly, I feel the same. I don’t think these trials should be televised, especially when we can’t even get cameras in the Supreme Court. But these trials do translate into a huge ratings boost for cable news, which then translates into more money. Here’s the proof of that:
For the first three nights of this week, CNN, Fox News, HLN and MSNBC have averaged a combined 4.081 million viewers in primetime — a 14% rise over the 3.605 million they drew for the first three nights of the week before the trial.
Fox News Channel remains the ratings leader in primetime — drawing nearly as many viewers this week as CNN, HLN and MSNBC combined — but its three-day average this week (1.904 million) is actually a bit below the 2.033 million it drew from June 17-19. The other nets were all up: CNN (700,000, up 75%), HLN (671,000, up 80%) and MSNBC (607,000, up 7%).
CNN, which basically aired the entire trial, was a huge winner. Now that the trial is over, CNN’s numbers have once again plummeted.
So while Republicans are bitching about the coverage, CNN was living the free market dream, cashing in on it in a huge way. That also makes you wonder what Republicans would want for news coverage in this country. It’s no secret they absolutely despise public radio, and are constantly trying to strip funding from it. Their “go to” news network is the biggest ratings whore out there as well. Fox thrives in creating controversy and using sex to promote their news.
Shouldn’t Republicans actually be congratulating CNN on engaging the free market so well and capitalizing on what they can? One would think so, but that just isn’t the case.
The next example is this:
The image of the Boston Bomber on the cover of Rolling Stone has sparked a huge cry of outrage this week, mostly from the right.
Have these people never read Rolling Stone before? Do they not know what Rolling Stone does?
Rolling Stone magazine has been in existence for nearly 50 years, and under the same publisher. That’s amazing in today’s media world. During that time, the magazine has always dove into controversy. Contrary to what many claim, the truth is that the magazine has long covered more than just music. Rolling Stone has provided coverage of news, culture and politics since it has been around. Why? Because those items are what influences music.
Perhaps a good reminder to people is this cover of the June, 1970 issue of Rolling Stone:
That right there is one Charles Manson, America’s most famous lunatic. Even though the issue came out a month after Manson released his album, it had nothing to do with Manson’s highly failed recording career (only about 3,000 copies sold). Instead it was looking at the man, who shocked a nation with his lunatic thinking and crimes. It was news and it sold!
So what Rolling Stone is out there doing is trying to sell their product through controversy. If you don’t understand that, then you must be new to this country. It’s not that this is the free market, but rather it’s what the free market in the United States of America demands.
And if this isn’t enough proof for you that America craves controversy, then I direct your attention to The Learning Channel. Started by the U.S. government in 1972 to provide educational programming, the now privately owned channel brings us this:
That’s right, Honey Boo Boo. Not one thing educational about it, unless you consider the decreasing cultural value of our country educational. But the show has huge ratings, and again, that translates into money. The free market is working as it is intended.
But Republicans won’t complain about Honey Boo Boo. They love her and love her show, but it does serve as a perfect reminder that in media ratings trumps everything else, just the same as profits trump all other in the free market.
So I want to finish with congratulating CNN and Rolling Stone for their embrace of the free market and doing what Republicans constantly say business should do – increase the numbers! Don’t listen to their complaints because if any of them could do the same thing, you better bet your ass they would be right on it!