Saturday, November 18, 2006

Media Watching: Conflict Sells

Although I haven't been able to post much this past week, I did keep up on reading and watching the news. The major political story focused on Nancy Pelosi's choice for majority leader pretty much ignoring the caucuses in the senate and within the Republican party.

The media continues to prove that it has no liberal bias. Its ownership is definitely conservative, but the reporters, editors, news directors and programmers are not really interested in taking a side. What they are interested in is presenting a conflict. There can be no drama without conflict, hence no entertainment value in stories that show cooperation and progress.

What I wanted to read this week instead of the conflict involving Murtha vs Hoyer was something informational about party organization. What does a "whip" actually do? How does the majority leader differ from the minority leader? And what about the dynamics of the newly elected house from both perspectives? I didn't find anything on the roles themselves but I did find this article from the SF Chronicle that tells us more about the makeup of the Democratic side of the House.

According to the article there are three major groups of Democrats:

The fiscally conservative Blue Dogs with a membership of 44

The moderate New Democrats grown to 62 members

The Progressives with the largest bloc of representatives at 71 and who will be heading some very important committees.

The story gives us some context from which to view the ensuing congressional season. Three factions give us opportunity for lots of conflict. How will Nancy Pelosi do in her efforts to bring unity to the party to pass legislation that will be opposed by the hapless idiot now occupying the White House?

It appears that post election there will be plenty of opportunites for thoughtful news reporting. The problem will be sifting through the media bias for sensationalism to find out what is really going on.

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