Open Letter To CBS

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by red states rule, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Here is the recipe for success for CBS. However, they will not take the advice


    Rosen: CBS should take a right


    December 22, 2006
    An open letter to Sean McManus, president, CBS News and Sports.
    Dear Mr. McManus:

    I don't have to tell you that things have changed a lot since the glory days of CBS News when it sat atop the ratings and Walter Cronkite was "the most trusted man in America." Back then there were only a handful of over-the-air broadcast channels and the Big Three networks presided over something of a shared monopoly in early evening news. TV was in its adolescence and viewers were less sophisticated about the medium. Although there were fewer gadgets (not even videotape), newscasts had more substance.

    Today, the mix of news and entertainment leans increasingly toward entertainment. The conventional wisdom is that audiences have fleeting, MTV attention spans and less serious interests. With a multitude of cable and satellite channels, the Internet and 2 4/7 news, networks like yours have seen a steady erosion of their audience. This isn't your fault. It was inevitable. But you're still in business and will continue to be profitable for at least a few more years.

    Unfortunately, CBS News has been mired in last place behind NBC and ABC in recent years. Your response has been to hire Katie Couric to "perk up" your evening newscast. That was a mistake. Although she scored some good ratings numbers during her first week, this was likely a flash-in-the-pan reaction to a big promotional campaign and viewer curiosity. In the November sweeps, she's settled into a "distant third," as Variety recently phrased it.

    Perhaps you thought a few new features and Couric's buoyancy would attract the "younger demos" the industry so desperately covets. It won't. The younger demos aren't interested in your basic product - in any form. You'd have had to sign Jon Stewart as an irreverent, comedy news anchor and back him up with a grunge band to get their attention, and maybe podcast the show.

    But all is not lost. When you finally give up on Couric, I have a rescue plan if you're willing to take a chance. Really, what have you got to lose?

    Here it is: go conservative. Not right wing, mind you. Just mainstream conservative. Couric's nightly audience is about 7 million. There are at least 20 million (that's the size of Rush Limbaugh's radio audience) American grown-ups who are sick and tired of the pervasive liberal bias that dominates the so-called "old" mass media. They'd also like a little more substance.

    Rather was liberal, Brokaw was liberal, Jennings was liberal. Brian Williams and Charles Gibson, your current competition on ABC and NBC, are liberal. And Katie's liberal. So break the mold. Let Williams and Gibson split the liberal audience and you'll have the conservative audience all to yourself, including millions of new viewers who long ago gave up on network news. It's called product differentiation. Yes, the Fox News Channel skews conservative, but they're on cable and Brit Hume's Special Report has only 2 million viewers, which is pretty good for a cable channel. Just ask CNN and MSNBC.

    As a matter of fact, Fox would be a good model for you. I know this is hard for inbred liberals to understand, but Fox's news is more fair and balanced than yours. They skew right of center less than you, ABC and NBC skew left of center. You could probably have gotten Hume for a lot less than you paid Couric, and he'd have been much better. OK, he's not as perky, but he has gravitas.

    Change your agenda. Don't obsess on bad news. When you criticize institutions and public figures, don't just attack from the left. Say some good things about business and capitalism, and some critical things about labor unions. Try being more skeptical of environmental activists and global warming hype. Make fun of Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore the way you do of conservatives.

    This will mean, of course, that you'll have to turn your newsroom upside down. Change the culture. Inject some conservative blood. You could call it diversity. Reacting to Richard Nixon's re-election in 1972, The New Yorker's film critic Pauline Kael ironically declared that she couldn't believe he won, since no one she knew voted for him. There's a message there. Get some editors with a different viewpoint, who travel in broader intellectual circles. You know those young people behind the scenes who help produce shows and write copy? They don't all have to be rubber-stamped, idealistic, "progressive" journalism school graduates who want to change the world. Hire a few interns from The Weekly Standard. Get a White House reporter who doesn't hate George W. Bush.

    You get the idea. It could propel CBS to the top of the nightly news ratings. And it might just be good for America, too.

    Mike Rosen's radio show airs daily from 9 a.m. to noon on 850 KOA. He can be reached by e-mail at mikerosen@850koa.com.

    http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion_columnists/article/0,2777,DRMN_23972_5230223,00.html
     
  2. trobinett
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    trobinett Senior Member

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    Great advice, but CBS?
     
  3. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    It is like giving advice to your kid. The kid thinks he/she knows it all, and you are the one who is out of touch

    One day, when they are older and wiser, perhaps they will look back and admit you were right
     

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