Would you like News with your Analysis, Sir?

by Dan Ward

Perusing the Web sites this morning for coverage of the Vice Presidential debate, I was struck by how each of the major 24-hour news networks chose to provide its own analysis of the debate before providing any details about what the candidates actually said.

CNN called the debate for Biden: “Palin Defies Expectations, Biden Wins”
FOX ignored Biden completely : “Palin Performance Boosts McCain”
And MSNBC called it a toss-up: “Palin Didn’t Win Debate, Didn’t Lose Either”

Just to make sure, they were all watching the same debate, right? They weren’t filming separate debates for each network? Or perhaps doing a separate debate for the West Coast feed?

Whatever happened to news that provided facts, and allowed viewers/listeners/readers to make up their own minds? Did the change start when all of us in the “blogoglobe” (blogosphere is so 20 minutes ago … blogoglobe has a nice balance to it) began attracting readers? There’s certainly no shortage of opinions and analysis on the blogs.

Perhaps the bigger question, though, is whether this “analysis first” mindset in the traditional media will expand beyond political coverage. Instead of seeking news coverage for our clients, will we seek news analysis instead? Will we be forced to pitch stories differently based on the perceived bias of the media outlets we contact?

I imagine a day in which watching the news will be like listening to Pandora Radio … choose a certain channel, and let the rest of your decisions be made for you.

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