Keith Olbermann

Not just Americans but Kiwis too

Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj ask if Americans are addicted to outrage.

Perhaps they are but not just them…look at the “outrage” that our media cultivates.

On cable news networks, talk radio and in the political blogosphere there is a constant stream of name-calling, belittling, character assassination and falsehoods.

Americans tell pollsters they dislike this kind of talk and believe it degrades our political system. But the audience data tell a different story: In fact, Americans find this type of political commentary quite compelling. By our calculation, part of an analysis we did for our new book,?The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility, the aggregate daily audience for such content is roughly 47 million people. In a cluttered media landscape where advertisers have a sea of choices, anxious television and radio producers hungry for revenue have sought new ways to break through the clutter?to stop the channel surfers as they peruse other options?and reach audiences. And the popular agent provocateurs of political talk media not only do the job?they also do it relatively cheaply. (Consider that CNN?s administrative expenses make up about?twice as much?of its budget share as at Fox or MSNBC.) As a result, America has developed a robust and successful Outrage Industry that makes money from calling political figures idiots, or even Nazis.

Sounds familiar. As I said, not just America. ? Read more »

What Nate Silver leaving means for NY Times and why he left

I blogged about the news that Nate Silver was leaving NY Times and moving to ESPN.

Tech Republic writer Marc Tracy looks at what this all means…for the NY Times and for ESPN. The NY Times loses traffic…eyeballs, that came for Nate and stayed.

Silver was the?Times?news section?s most recognizable politics writer. As I?reported?last November, in the run-up to Election Day, one-fifth of visits to nytimes.com included stops at Silver?s 538 blog. In many cases, visitors arrived at the site by searching for him. ?He has been a journalist of great value to the?Times?in this election,? executive editor Jill Abramson told me at the time. ?What?s interesting is a lot of the traffic is coming just for Nate.? (Abramson declined to comment Saturday.)

So of course it is a ?blow.? But it is at least worth noting that what Silver did was never the?Times? core competency when it comes to politics. And the sort of thing that Silver grew famous for condemning, in which cable-news prognosticators discuss ?narratives? while disregarding the polls that sit right in front of them, is also not a good description of what?Times?politics coverage does best. ?? Read more »