A Category Error

IS COMMITTED when someone confuses the consumers of news for the media’s customers. Those are two different objects.

The consumer of news — who pays the freight for distribution by plunking down its seventy-five cents or a buck for a daily paper, two bucks on Sunday — is not the customer. The consumer is the media’s product.

The real customer, to whom the product — the eyeballs and earballs of the consumers — is sold is the advertiser.

The news content is merely the bait.

And this is why the media is failing. The product has declined in quality. Fewer readers are taking the bait. And fewer customers are willing to place dollars at risk by buying space or time in advertising.

The decline is utterly due to the (correct) perception that the news media is deliberately and with malice aforethought lying to its consumers of news.

The bait is off.

Not even Fox is immune to this decline in quality. “Fair and Balanced” is not “Reliably Truthful,” because it gives far too much weight to lies. The advantage that Fox has is that of a one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. Sighted, yes, but still lacking in depth perception.

Were a media outlet or empire dedicate itself to reporting the truth — the facts — and let the chips fall where they may, I suspect it would rule the roost in short order.

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