Friday, 2 November 2007

The BBC's new woes

I just started reading an article in Time magazine about the BBC and the woes besetting it. The article mentions The Eastenders, a popular British TV soap opera which has been running for over 20 years.

In 1986 when there were far fewer TV channels to choose from (and no Internet) EastEnders had 30 million viewers for its portrayal of everyday life and dramas. Now there is apocryphal melodrama and violence in order to retain the dwindling audience , currently 9 million.

This small example suddenly gave me insight to see that this is the way the conventional media is trying to cop ewith its declining audiences. They seem to be in a kind of frantic and desperate competition to bombard us with ever higher drama, hysteria and provocation in order to keep us watching and reading. Sad, doomed to failure and probably self-defeating.

"Dramatic" announcement of Olmert's prostate cancer

Cancer is still a scary word although more and more forms or cancer can be cured or arrested. But the media (unlike doctors) don't want to calm you. A few days ago Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, called a press conference to announce that he has a "malignant growth in his prostate gland" i.e. prostate cancer.

This is far from uncommon amongst males over 50 and is well treatable by a variety of means. Mr Olmert decided to go public with the information (and his decision to have it surgically treated) a few days after being told by his doctors. He did so in a very sober, balanced way and any rational professional would agree that there is no particular cause for concern. That, of course, did not stop all the newscasters and commentators from talking about the "dramatic" announcement. But there was no drama there. They, the media, as usual are trying to create it