Bernie Goldberg: No question: News has been Balkanized – or democratized, if that’s the term we’re using. So unlike the old days, network news is not the only place we go to get national news on television. Now, we can get news from a million different places: from cable, from all news radio, from the Internet, on computers, on Smartphones; we can practically get news on our shoes or underpants.
So whoever wins out won’t be much of a winner. Not like the networks once were. What troubles me is that too many Americans these days are getting their news from sources they agree with. We’ve lost patience with hearing the other side. Maybe something will come along next year or in 5 or 10 years that we’re not evening contemplating now – and maybe that source of information will be the winner. Or maybe not.
Cotto: Cable news stations gained much traction over the last few decades. However, they are rapidly losing ground to various Internet outlets. Beyond any other reason, why is this?
Goldberg: The audience for news on television – cable or network – is composed largely of, let’s say, older folks. Kids don’t watch the CBS Evening News or cable news. They get their news from non-traditional sources. But Fox is doing more than okay. It’s making lots of money. Give the people what they want and they will come.
Cotto: Whether the station in question is a network affiliate or a cable channel, most people would probably expect some sort of bias to be present. Given how polarized our society has become, an ever-larger share of the population might find this to be a good thing. Do you have a perspective on this?
Goldberg: I’m old school. I want news to be fair and as unbiased as possible. But given how polarized we’ve become, we have channels and websites for just about every political taste. My preference is that we do what we can to rid our journalists of their on-air biases and deliver the news “straight.” But on cable anyway, the business model is to deliver information with a liberal slant for liberals and a conservative slant for conservatives. Viewers seem to like it. Like I say, I’m old school.
(I don’t know enough about local network affiliates.)