For the record this is not a commentary on Cable news Ratings, which are wildly fluctuating. This is just the ThinkTank Panel (of One) provising a plausible explaination for a witnessed phenomenon.
The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) loves Fox News, but not for the reasons one might expect. Not because Fox News accurately represents and advocates for the views of the entire ThinkTank Panel, (that would be impossible). It is also not because Fox News is truly “fair and Balanced” in its reporting, because it’s obvious they are not. In fact it is precisely because Fox News has an agenda and they unabashedly press it that agenda down the throat of their audience, all the while maintain that everything they do is “fair and Balanced” that the ThinkTank Panel (of One) enjoys Fox News. Because it’s entertaining. That and that alone constitute the reason “More Americans get their news from Fox News.” It really has nothing to do with what is reported or the political view advanced. Fox News is on TV. The whole point of being on TV is to attract viewers; ands Fox is the one TV news channel that has not forgotten this.
Keith Olberman is as vicious a liberal spokesman as any Fox News commentator is conservative. However Keith Olberman’s shtick is tiring at best and just plain uninteresting to all but the most closed minded liberal. Fox news is exciting and entertaining; while still maintain the pretense of a free press working for the masses. Fox News delivers all of its content with the sense of impassioned urgency that people respond to. It is addictive really. It can suck you in whether you love it or hate it. In that regard Fox News is very mush the Howard Stern of the News business. You watch just to see what happens next.
So while the ThinkTank Panel would caution against reading much into the implications for America’s political leanings by the massive rating lead Fox News holds, the panel believes those rating are very telling about what captivates America’s short attention span.
The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) theorizes three elements of the American TV audience’s psyche Fox News appeals to.
1.) Fear: This is the most obvious element. Every TV news cast leads into a commercial with tag lines touting, “Up next, information that could save your life,” or “The new Harry Potter Movie comes out Friday, why you should be concerned.” Every news station hooks its audience with the premise that each item of news is potentially life altering, and they do this by playing on the various fears of humanity. But no one undermines the perception of security at all levels than Fox news, because Fox News takes our highest and broadest form of security and protection, the US federal government , and makes it’s every move a matter of life or death, (or at least of substantial sums of money.)
2.) Energy: This is the brilliant part of Fox News. While it is busy pushing the fear agenda it does so with anchors and commentators best suited for conducting pep rallies and rock concerts. If it were visually appealing on screen Fox News would dispense with microphones and just give each talking head a megaphone from which to bellow. Fox News is like a 20/7 MTV Rock the Vote Special for boomers. The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) is mildly surprised that ESPN’s Chris Berman has not been vultured by Fox News to do election coverage. The entire line up of female on air talent at Fox News has the collective appearance of a high school cheer squad or a college sorority. The one exception to this is Greta Van Susteren, who happens to be the most reputable journalist on the Fox News payroll.
3.) Intellect: Finally Fox News does a tremendous job of appealing to a rather “high brow” audience. Or perhaps more accurately; Fox News succeeds in making its audience feel more “high brow” for having watched Fox News over another news source. There is a sense of elitism that is imparted to the viewer for merely having been a viewer. Viewers feel they are special and somehow smarter, than their non-Fox News watching peers, not because of the information received in watching, but because they chose to watch in the first place. Where other news stations say “thanks for watching” Fox News in essence says “congratulations you came to the right place.”
[On a side note, The ThinkTank Panel (Of One) would like to point out that the staunch conservative Fox News is using a page straight out of the very liberal Barak Obama presidential campaign when it appeals to a “high brow” sense of elitism. This represents a shift in recent American Politics as both the Clinton and Bush administrations had emphasized a “Hey I’m every man” theme in their successful presidential campaigns (think: baseball, booze, saxophones, and “not inhaling”).]
So what can the success of Fox News yield to us that is of any practical value?
Quite simply, Fox News proves true the old adage, “it’s not what you say but how you say it,” and further illustrates the notion that “perception is reality.” News is in fact a commodity, and the real value of that commodity is in how well you sell it. Yes these are all clichés. Yet Fox News has proven these clichés to be substantial. Remember you don’t have to buy what Fox is saying. The fact that you are watching means they already sold you.
I remember watching "Who wants to marry a millionaire" when it originally aired on Fox 10 freaking years ago. My mom was pissed!! She said it made a mockery of marriage, and was disgusting, and made us change the channel. If I remember correctly my mom left the room and dad changed the channel back (or maybe it was me, or more likely my brother Brian), and we got to see Rick Rockwell emerge from his dark balcony and choose Darva Conger over my favorite Barker Beauty from the Price is Right (I have no proof of this but trust me, I remember that very distinctly). Needless to say mom was pissed when she came back in at the end of the show and found us watching it again. We of course augured "what's the big deal?" Mom's sticking point seemed to be that a relationship much less a marriage can't be started instantaneously with out 2 people taking lots of time to get to know each other, therefore this was about 2 people wanting to have sex and not about a life together. (Of course Rick was stonewalled on the honeymoon by Darva, citing her guilt at betraying her religious beliefs, and mom was vindicated. That is until Darva posed naked in Playboy for the $$. I don’t remember how much she was paid but it was less than a million and that apparently was more than Rick had to offer, which meant the show's title was inaccurate, Ergo, mom was right the show was a mockery, but she was wrong it wasn't about sex it was about money, which I think we all knew in the first place. But I digress.)
Of course my mom is a big fan of the Bachelor. A guy slowly eliminates one woman after another until he finds his perfect soul mate, all on national TV in front of a camera and production crew. And as disgusted as she was with who wants to marry a millionaire, she is that enthralled with the Bachelor (Of course she also is enthralled by "the Ghost Whisperer", so make of that what you will).
Now I'm here to tell you that if you’re looking for a model of how to go about finding someone to marry and spend the rest of your life with, Who wants to marry a millionaire is the way to go.
The Bachelor certainly tries to give guy every opportunity to find out all he can about these women and make an informed slowly (painfully so) thought out decision. That is good in that you can say "I didn't rush into this" but that is even a bit of a misnomer.
Basically the bad thing about the bachelor is that it perpetuates the myth that there is one special person out there for you, and the happiness in your future depends on choosing the right person. While marrying a miserable person will make you miserable yourself, there is no perfect person for anyone, and so any good persons will do nicely. The real key is your commitment to the relationship. The problem with all the emphasis on choosing "the right one" is that when things don’t go so swell, you automatically blame the current problems on "I made the wrong choice" and that is an excuse that makes divorce not only easy, but inevitable if not altogether necessary, because of course you made the wrong choice in women. It's a fatal attribution error, blame the past for the present. This is Dr Phil stuff.
John Gottman, who is a big shot marriage expert, researcher, author and former professor at the University of Washington explains finding a marriage partner like this. "You are choosing a problem you want to deal with for the rest of your life." Life is full of problems, they are unavoidable, but you can exercise some control in the type of problems you have in life.
The most recent Bachelor is a good example of this. Jake is down to Tenly and Vienna. Now most people, my wife most of all, hate Vienna and believe her to be a fake, ugly, classless, lying, gold digging slut, with a boob job. On the other hand Tenly is a sweet, loving, shy, good-natured girl, who has been hurt in the past.
OK now you’re Jake and you have to chose the problem you want to put up with for the rest of your life; Vienna might cheat on you, or Tenly's paranoia that you will cheat on her.
Macho bravado and arrogance can compensate for your own insecurity, but there’s little to nothing you can do for someone else's insecurity.
So in Dr. Gottman’s view Jake picking Vienna is not such a bad idea.
The bachelor before that is a good example of how the myth of choosing "the right one" complicates things, but also shows how well things can go if you can eliminate that myth. Jason chose Melissa and for whatever reason decides almost immediately that he made the wrong decision and goes back to Molly. Now tough luck for Melissa, but for Molly and Jason this is a god-send. Now that Jason has already plaid the "I made the wrong decision card" he is committed to Molly. Molly
took him back so quick because, 1.) It validated her telling herself and America in the limo ride to the airport that Jason made a mistake, and 2.) It shows she is not petty and vindictive. Unlike most reality TV fixups, this relationship has a chance.
Jake and Vienna have a chance too because when it comes down to it, Jake picked Vienna in his heart of hearts from the very beginning. He had to of. He had every reason to cut her at any point and he didn't. Why? Because he picked Vienna and then left it up to the rest of the girls to prove themselves better than her. That is impossible because attraction is not a conscious decision. However love and commitment are. And you will never make a commitment to someone if you put the onus on them to illicit that commitment from you. You have to give love and commitment freely. However if your attracted to someone, be it via sex, compassion, laughter or otherwise, giving them love is easy.
So when it comes down to finding someone to love, the question is not who or which one?? But it's a yes or no to whoever you’re with at the moment. When the bachelor says he is falling in love with all 3 of these girls, then he's in trouble. You see once you reach a yes, the search should be over, but the series has 12 more episodes to shoot. That means 12 more episodes of making the bachelor look for reason to doubt his decision, only to have to make an arbitrary one based on suedo-information like his families' opinion after meeting her once for dinner. (I find it funny that the families snap judgment is considered good, but the guy is supposed to agonize back and forth forever to make a good decision.)
Ultimately, a show like "Who wants to marry a millionaire" forces someone to make a decision based on instinct and attraction ( the millionaire) , and then forces the yes/ no decision on "can I live with this person" (the woman when picked and proposed to with a $35,000 ring) and then forces both people to commit right then and there. Now of course the big question is do they really mean it. And in Darva and Rick's case they didn't and you see what happened. But in a lot of the Bachelor cases, I think maybe they did mean it, but it didn’t matter because they went about it all wrong.