Most people by this point know either subconsciously or consciously the main reasons for why CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox News regulars act like a group of preppy high school girls. Let’s briefly list 4 common reasons before moving on to the underlying explanation.
1) The nature of their work as charismatic and believable presenters of information rather than experts. It is key to mention that the separation Arsenal news between 24 hour cable networks and brief “serious” 6 PM broadcasts on basic cable is disappearing. It used to be that the evening news audience demographic was numerically dominated by the group of elderly depression era females. This explained the need for senior citizens like Dan Rather who was ideal marriage material for the widowed viewers and delivered the authority of a small town doctor. To this day a doctor is shown by polls as the most respected wage laborer whose opinion is considered the most truthful (it makes doctors natural lead characters in TV drama series and movies). However this demographic is dying off and being replaced by baby boomer women (greater female life expectancy always tilts corporate marginal profit seeking) who respect Katie Couric’s professional achievement and ability to look good at her age.
2) Support by biggest media corporations of Reagan’s efforts to reduce funding for department of education (either through cheerleading it or tacit support from silence). 40 year olds watching the news on TV today were directly affected by the across the board reduction in quality of schooling. Television and newspapers thus have to use less big words and their writers are increasingly relying on baby speak, puns, and outright prepackaged talking points (Gretchen Carlson playing dumb to keep her job is one extreme example of this). Shorter attention span is not the cause but the social symptom. This directly feeds into 3)
3) MSM responding to an Australian tabloid oligarch’s invasion of United States with headlong rush towards turning news into entertainment. Of course this would have happened even without the accelerating influence of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation conglomerate. The aging of current TV demographic is permanent since mostly those remain who are unable to master the use of internet two way transmission medium. Since the audience is increasingly represented by rural senior citizens who were failed by the education drives in the 50s and 60s, the intensification of circus style hysterical entertainment as seen on the radio is inevitable in the short term. Murdoch’s influence must again be mentioned however. Newstartainment ( trademarked =] ) saw a publicly visible deepening split between internationalist media oligarchs (who encourage globalization since USA is not essential to their base of operations) and nationalist media oligarchs who use their media asset influence to help out USA based heavy industry. NBC Universal can be said to be an example of a nationalist oligarch mouthpiece since it is owned by General Electric (which is reliant on selling real tangible items like engine parts to US military and government organs). News
Corporation of course is not as reliant on the well being of United States military-industrial complex so its assets like Fox News can be extra irresponsible with their newstartainment. From the financial perspective it is better strategy for GE’s bottom line to support nationalist Democratic party wing of the oligarchy (since better educated/healthier peasants allow US based corps to better compete abroad). That is why MSNBC leans towards democratic millionaires and their businesses. The fact that Fox News was emulated points less to its success than to a transition of formerly US tied corporations towards a more global status. For more information on who the top 10 owners of media clusters are, here is a handy chart (warning: This is from 2002 and the industry got more consolidated and monolithic since then. Use it to get the thrust of the idea).