Wednesday, January 27, 2010


As a pollster by profession I thought this clip from last night's RMR was pretty great.

One of the things I find most distressing about the current state of the media is the fascination they seem to have with what stupid people think. This need to "have a conversation" with consumers is bizarre, not least because I doubt it has any noticeable impact on their bottom line. Do you know anyone who checks The Globe and Mail over, say, The Star, because the comments are better? Would you stop checking the CBC news online if they disabled comments?

Online polls are even more absurd. Media corporations know they'll fall victim to "freeping" if they set up a poll about anything remotely contentious. Yet they continue to do it as though the results are indicative of anything at all.

Wishful thinking, but it would be nice if the news corporations locked teh stoopid back up in the box instead of exposing us to insanity that never would have seen the light of day if we still relied on a one-page "letters to the editor".


  1. This is just another case of journalism trying to be popular in order to hang on in a world in which people flippantly whine about bias with every news story. Some outlets genuinely believe that user content can allow them calibrate in order to capture broad appeal of the populace. This is probably more having to do with falling ad revenuw more so than anything, but the abandonment of analysis and context is due in part because those same people they are trying to reach quickly invoke bias if the information is not to their world view.

    There is a risk of sounding elitist here by labeling them stupid. They are no so much stupid as they haplessly believe that their own worldview is monolithically the right one, and it is their job to make that part of the general discourse, an imposed group think, if you will.

  2. I would like to know what kind of evidence, if any, these outlets have to justify their belief that user generated content makes their product any more appealing. Online polls perhaps? "Social media consultants"?

    First comment from the first story I came upon at CBC News:

    Troubled inmates need better access to help: inquest

    KILLERTOMATO WROTE: Apparently its too bad for some of his victims that he was not succesfull a number of years ago. Basically who cares. Dont waste any more money on convicted murderers. If the entire convicted murderer population did the same we'de all be better off, except the useles goverment workers that put bread on their families table by studying the freaks.

    In the face of this sort of thing, sounding elitist is the last of my worries.