Using sex to sell news

Sex sells. That is something that the advertising agencies discovered a long time ago. So it should not be surprising that TV channels should want to use sex to gain audiences, especially during the periods when ratings are being calculated. But at the same time, news stations tend to have older viewers who, at least on the surface, like to think of themselves as upholders of old-fashioned morality. Thus has emerged one of the most obvious media tricks to have your cake and eat it, and that is to have an ‘in-depth’ news story closely examining some aspect of sex while deploring it.
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Greenwald and Poitras dedicate their Polk awards to Snowden

Andrew Rice of New York magazine had an entertaining description of the Polk Awards last night where Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill, and Barton Gellman received the award for National Security Reporting for their work on the Snowden documents. Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian who supported the printing of the first major articles, also was present to pick up a well-deserved award for his paper.
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McConnelling goes mainstream

While using money to influence politicians is becoming increasingly blatant following the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon rulings, there are still a few fig leaves that exist. One is that there should be no coordination between political campaigns and the SuperPACs that support them. Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Colbert’s lawyer Trevor Potter had a brilliant series during the 2012 elections showing how easy it was, using nods and winks, for politicians get around SuperPAC restrictions.
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Clickbait

One thing that I have learned by blogging is that I am absolutely hopeless at predicting what posts will garner attention. In fact, I seem to have a reverse sense, in that posts that I think are interesting sink without a trace while those that I think are uncontroversial generate quite a bit of buzz.
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The true risks of autism versus the media coverage

You may recall Sam Wang, the Princeton neuroscientist whose statistical analyses I referred to frequently during the 2012 election. He now has an article in the New York Times where he analyzes the actual risks for causing autism versus the frequency of news coverage. As he says, “by far the largest risk is genetic. In comparison, the measured impact of environmental risks ranges from nonexistent to small, unless you work directly with chemicals in a factory.”
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TV news is even worse than I thought

Since I don’t have cable, I do not watch the 24/7 cable news networks and from the clips that I do see on the internet, I know I am not missing much. While I do own a TV and can get the broadcast channels, I stopped watching those news shows a long time ago. The morning news shows especially were a wasteland, with inane chatter and frequent commercial breaks.
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