Sunday, November 25, 2007

11-25-07: FOX News on Digg

I am a frequenter of Digg, and it seems to me that a lot of articles have been posted recently that blast FOX News. If you aren't familiar with Digg, it's a social news website. Users submit stories that they find interesting, and if other people like it, they "digg" the story. The popularity of a story is determined, obviously, by its number of diggs. It's pure democracy, and it sometimes produces some interesting results. Stories do vary, but not as often as you'd like to see. There seem to be a lot of liberals and Ron Paul fans (don't know how that happened), but I visit it more often for the Technology section. There are a lot of Mac fans on the site, which is good. Another similar site, which is in an earlier stage of development, is Thoof. Think of Digg, but with a few filters put in to keep out some of the crappier stories. Thoof uses "personalization algorithms," which are surprisingly good.

The interesting part about the recent blasts against FOX News on Digg is that they're probably not achieving what the story submitters are intending them to do, which is to prevent people from watching FOX News (or maybe protest against it). That's a guess on my part. If they want to have people watch the channel to poke fun at it, then they're getting the result. But, it's not going to do anything but boost FOX News' ratings. Personally, I don't particularly favor cable news stations over anything, because they're all ratings driven. Whether one is worse than another is not my concern. I don't watch any of them exclusively, but when I do watch the news, I often watch FOX News.

This goes back to the timeless saying "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Sure, you might be able to point something out to some one who already agrees with you anyway. That's not much of a victory. It's like posting a "Yankees Suck" sign outside of Fenway Park. You're not going to open too many minds. I'm exaggerating, I know, but how many people are going to objectively say "You know what, I had no opinion on FOX News before, but now that you pointed out this particular instance, I hate them and want to watch CNN from now on" ? People are brought up watching one station over another, or have no particular favorite. Those who fall into the latter category, like me, find the station that fits with their point of view. I like FOX News because they have an anchor (I forget her name) who had a minor stroke, but still sits behind the desk. That shows me that her journalistic ability was more important than other traits, like whether she looks prettier than 95% of America. I could give a shit how she looks or sounds. If she reports the news well, then put her on the air. I'm sure you could poke holes in my reasoning quite easily, but that's not the only reason I watch that station over another. To be honest, I only watch the 30 minute news broadcasts, not even the 60 minute shows and most especially not the pundits. I listen to radio pundits. They're usually funnier and smarter.

So go ahead and Digg that story about some crazy caller on FOX News, or a Youtube compilation on select clips from broadcasts. At worst, you'll watch their next broadcast, boost their ratings a little, and that guy you think is an idiot will get a raise next year. I hope he does.

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