Hartman writes, “It is almost impossible to over-estimate the degree to which U.S. news organizations have surrendered editorial judgment to market testing, audience research and the relentless pursuit of eyeballs.” Hartman believes this has led to a situation in which wall-to-wall coverage of a celebrity funeral or “playing to one end or the other of the opinion spectrum” has become too common.
“There’s a price to be paid for this pandering, of course,” he claims, pointing to an ominous Pew Research study of public respect for the media.
“People are smart enough to know shamelessness when they see it,” notes Hartman. “They know that stories are chosen and highlighted because someone has decided they’ll grab the greatest attention or appeal to a particular point of view.”
He adds, “I honestly believe that this trend is the road to ruin for news organizations.”
Related: Rome Hartman on the “Fox News-ization” of Media at mediabistro’s UGCX.