Jul
13
2000

And Now, an All-New Episode of 'Media Jeopardy!'

Welcome back to "Media Jeopardy!" Rest assured that there's never a shortage of fascinating material.

The rules are unchanged: Consider the answer, and then try to come up with the correct question. Let's get started!

Today's first category is "TV Follies."

The Alliance for Better Campaigns found that television stations in the country's biggest 75 media markets, reaching about four-fifths of the population, aired 151,267 of these during the first four months of 2000.

What are political ads?

According to researchers, at least this much money will end up being spent for this year's campaign TV commercials in the United States.

What is $600 million?

During a single month at the height of the 2000 presidential primary season, the Annenberg Public Policy Center discovered, the evening news broadcasts on the nation's top three TV networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) devoted an average of this much time to "candidate-centered discourse" each night.

What are 36 seconds?

Now we're on to our next category, "Basics of News Media."

In coverage of foreign policy and international affairs, this is what we get (instead of independent journalism) when reporters keep relying on official sources in the U.S. government and like-minded analysts.

What is stenography for the powerful?

When it's working right, this profession can provide us with a wide array of voices, sources and perspectives on a range of events and concerns.

What is journalism?

Next are some "Quotable Quotes."

In 1895, he wrote: "In America the president reigns for four years, and journalism governs for ever and ever."

Who was Oscar Wilde?

In 1987, this ABC correspondent said: "I preach a good line, but I practice what most people in my profession practice.... As a rule, we are, if not handmaidens of the establishment, at least blood brothers to the establishment." Thirteen years later, he told an audience at New York University: "Anyone who says you should subscribe to a code of ethics, well stuff your ethics!" He assured the students: "The marketplace will decide and will whittle me out if I'm not ethical."

Who is Sam Donaldson?

In 1993, this foreign correspondent for National Public Radio reflected on the dynamics of news coverage of the already bloody warfare in the Balkans. "Policy in Western capitals — or lack of it — has increasingly been based on news reports, and from my experience I have seen that many times the media have been better at pulling emotional strings than at analyzing facts," she wrote. "The use of good-guy and bad-guy stereotypes often obscured the complex origins of the conflict."

Who is Sylvia Poggioli?

Now we're on to "Media Double Jeopardy." Today's category is "To Have and Have Not."

Jupiter Communications, a research firm, has released a national study estimating that by the end of this year, a total of 15 million households with annual incomes above $75,000 will have access to this media service, while only 4 million households with incomes below $15,000 will have access to it.

What is connection to the Internet?

Several nationwide cable TV networks routinely supply viewers with reporting on the latest ups and downs of this institution.

What is the stock market?

None of the cable networks can be bothered to report the latest statistics about this common workplace occurrence.

What are serious on-the-job injuries?

When the stock market spikes upward, reporters and pundits are virtually unanimous with applause. But when this other economic indicator inches upward, many media commentators fret aloud about an overly "tight" labor market, "inflationary pressures" and the danger that the economy is "overheating."

What is income for American workers?

And now, we've reached "Final Media Jeopardy."

It arrives via all kinds of outlets, whether provided by governments or entertainment conglomerates or ad agencies. Much easier to recognize in other societies than in our own, it can distort just about every aspect of life.

What is propaganda?