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Dec 17 2013

The most important news story …

… as measured by its repetition on local news channels. Conan O’Brien has the scoop.

What I am curious about is the almost identical wording across the country. How did that come about for such a trivial item? Are they all fed news items from some central source?

Weird.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Al Dente

    I could not get that video to load.

  2. 2
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    Are they all fed news items from some central source?

    I assume so. Local publications get “free” content from companies working for corporations and industries, and I see no reason to think TV news would be any different. This could be some local feed paid for by the stations or networks to provide fluff to fill airtime, or it could be, say, something written up for the retailers’ association to get people to think more about buying gifts for themselves.

  3. 3
    AsqJames

    What I am curious about is the almost identical wording across the country. How did that come about for such a trivial item? Are they all fed news items from some central source?

    It’s called “churnalism”. I think Nick Davies coined the term in his excellent book Flat Earth News (link is to Amazon UK – not sure if it’s available in US). Newspapers and local TV stations will take a wire story or press release and regurgitate it…often verbatim. Otherwise they’d have to do some research, or at least pay someone to sit and write the copy/script.

    Taking stories from a wire service and publishing without further investigation is bad enough as it contributes to the ‘monoculture’ of the news media – it doesn’t matter how many media outlets you get news from, you’re still only getting one perspective. Press releases from PR companies are more insidious as they’re effectively advertising delivered by people purporting to be impartial journalists.

    To a large extent you really can’t blame the individual journalists, or even their editors/producers, it’s the business management people who’ve cut the number of journalists while demanding they produce the same amount of material for their traditional output (either on paper or screen) while also demanding the reduced workforce produce more and more content for their websites.

  4. 4
    Mano Singham

    Try here.

  5. 5
    Al Dente

    Thank you. That worked.

  6. 6
    wtfwhateverd00d

    While that is a stunning example, is it really much different from what happens on twitter with the endless RT or tumblr? And is it all that different from what both liberal and conservative and skeptical and religious and feminist blog networks do?

    Just watch FTB and see how many people comment on the same item using the same talking points linking to the prior person in the chain.

  7. 7
    eigenperson

    Dr. Singham, can you please ban this troll already? He is making your comment sections unpleasant by using them as a platform for off-topic anti-feminist screeds.

  8. 8
    M can help you with that.

    There’s an AFAIK-still-unbanned commenter who insists that anyone who doesn’t support genocide is a Nazi. WTFchillmec is small-time.

  9. 9
    invivoMark

    Until it comes to the topic of 51% of the population, that is. Even Colnago’s hatred of anything non-Jewish pales in comparison to WTF’s loathing of women.

  10. 10
    lanir

    Maybe it’s an Associated Press (AP) or Reuters story? Those get sent all over. Even Fox probably gets them (lies are more convincing when they’re close enough to the truth that you doubt the truth when you hear it later).

  11. 11
    wtfwhateverd00d

    I appreciate your defense, such as it is. Who though are you talking about? If it’s Colnago80, your insult is egregious, heinous, and vacuous.

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