Posted by: johnhourihan | August 1, 2013

What drives the main-stream media?

As a long-time journalist I have to tell you, there is very little political motivation that goes into deciding what goes into a newspaper or onto the TV.
The Internet is where you will find the politically motivated entries.
Before you decide I am insane, please stay with me a little longer.
There is a finite amount of space in newspapers, and, surprisingly, it isn‘t much.. A meeting every day in every newspaper in the country lines out how many pages of ads are present, then on pretty much a 40/60 ratio (40 percent being the news hole, 60 being the ads) the powers at the newspaper decide how many pages there will be that day.
Then it is up to the editorial department to fill up that 40 percent of the space that is not ads. Everything that happened that day in the world just won’t fit.
Why am I telling you this?
Because before you decide that the wrong things are in the newspaper you have to understand there is a limited amount of space available. Keep in mind, if fewer people buy the paper today than yesterday, tomorrow someone is going to be out of a job.
Now, honestly,  do you think the top editors are going to use politics as their motivation, or are they going to fill it with what is going to sell the newspaper?
I will tell you, having sat in on those meetings thousands of times for more than 30 years. They nearly always decide based on what will sell the newspaper: Today that is sensationalist nonsense.
One editor even called selling newspapers, “trolling for perverts.”
Keep that in mind, who is actually deciding what will fill the pages – You are.
So he was talking about you.
The editors, in self-defense, choose the stories that will make money. Through studies, they have found you want meaningless violence and horrible things including any kind of corruption in the government, either side, and of course, sex.
It is what you will buy. So its what they will print.
You may be surprised that TV has even less space to cover the news, so they choose what you will watch: The same nonsense that is in the newspapers.
It has nothing to do with what the White House wants or doesn’t want.
Currently  however, most people have decided that they will get their news from the Internet, because it is free and because it has endless space.
So they comb over the entirety of the Internet and see the items that have not appeared in the newspapers and on TV, and start shouting.
“The main stream media is hiding this because they are in the pocket of the White House.” or, “Monsanto” or “the tea party.”
This, however, is not the case.
By way of an example I want to relate story that happened in Milford, Massachusetts about 20 years ago.
The editor got a call from an irate woman. Her picture had been in the paper next to a story about something that bothered her.
She complained loudly that, “you put that next to my picture just to embarrass me.”
His answer was tell tale.
He said, “Lady, you come down here and sit in this newsroom for a week and you’ll see we don’t do anything on purpose. We are just trying to sell a few papers, and keep our jobs.” It was the most honest thing any journalist anywhere ever said.
There isn’t enough room for everything in the world in any given day to be in a newspaper. What is in the paper is what you, the public, demand to be in the newspaper or on TV.
Right now you demand meaningless nonsense as long as it is violent, racial, corrupt, evil or about sex.
And you don’t even seem to care if it is true or not.



  1. Right on, John.

    • I knew you would like this one. Miss those early early mornings.

  2. What we need in newspapers is more pictures to look at and less words to have to read! Then after reading the words you have to put them together to make thoughts. More pictures that’s the ticket!

  3. You have written this very well and very clearly. I am one of those people, who after decades of religiously reading several newspapers a day, no longer does. I do not watch the evening news either, and I rarely read any
    news on the internet. How do I stay informed? The same way people who
    suck up the various media do, at least I know I am not informed.

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