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September 16, 2004

A Demand-Side Theory of Rathergate; CBS Affiliates

Rathergate has some interesting economics to it. Stanley Kurtz has a demand-side theory for why CBS is refusing to admit defeat:...

...even as complaints about liberal media bias escalated, the mainstream media was bound to become more liberal, not less liberal -- because that's what was happening to its audience. What all this means is that, given its audience, CBS News is no longer concerned about preserving it reputation for fairness. On the contrary, CBS now wants and needs to preserve its reputation for liberalism.

In equilibrium, only closedminded liberals listen to CBS, and so CBS serves up news that will please them, with truth being of minor concern. It is a little like a tabloid that regularly has stories of alien abductions. The tabloid's readers don't care about accuracy-- that's a silly thing to ask of a tabloid-- they want good stories.

But product doesn't quite match consumer yet for CBS. Instapundit points to a National Review article about CBS affiliates.

Ken Charles, the program director of KPRC radio in Houston, told the Kerry Spot Wednesday evening that he has notified CBS Radio news that he will be switching to Fox News feed for their Friday evening news, instead of using the Dan Rather-anchored CBS feed.

"Dan has been doing the Friday 4 P.M. slot for about three or four years, and this is the first time Dan Rather has been the story," Charles said. "I have a problem with my news people being the story."

Charles said that his station is under contract with CBS, and that the move is unlikely to have a financial impact for CBS. The public-relations damage, however, could be significant.

"We're the number-seven market in the nation, and I would hope it would send a message to them about how serious this is," Charles said. "I announced at 5:10, and since then (about an hour and a half) we've gotten 150 e-mails from listeners, all supportive.


Another official at a different affiliate station wrote to a concerned viewer that his station is covering the matter locally, and talking to its own experts. He called the CBS report, "not acceptable at all."

Posted by erasmuse at September 16, 2004 09:18 AM

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