What the Public Wants
|Join the dialogue!
Hear our panelists' perspectives, then tell us what you think.
Congressman Barney Frank
Mayor Bill Campbell
Have the news media lost their connection with the American people and what the American people really care about? Public opinion polls say that the press is held in lower esteem than most institutions of public life. Yet while the public decries tawdry coverage, it delivers a ratings bonanza when the latest scandal erupts. Is campaign media coverage part of the problem or just a mirror for America's new political realities? What do Americans really want to hear from the media?
For youth perspectives on these issues, visit Teenvoice.com's E-lections site, featuring student discussions, polls, and other resources. Check our list of resources for more organizations and websites that deal with these issues.
Congressman Barney Frank|
"There is a distinction between what people want to read. We all read
garbage, but we don't always eat it. And I think that there's that
distinction. But I do think if you're talking only about prostitution 20
years ago, with no sign that there was obstruction of justice, and no
hypocrisy. And by the way, I think it's okay to be against murder, and be
against robbing, and be against mugging...I don't think that's going to be
considered an inconsistency. If you were not somebody's sexual morality cop,
I don't think it would be a problem. And I think you'd be better off
admitting it, and it would go away."
"Senator Able has made what is probably one of the most important speeches
of his political career. And this issue affects tens of millions of
Americans. This is what they're interested in. Did they have some mild
interest in an inside baseball argument between campaign aides? Maybe. But
they have much greater interest in what's going to happen with their health
care. And that's the problem with the press. They've lost their connection
with the American people and what the American people really care about."
"I want to say a word for the consumer here. You're saying this is what the
consumer wants, and I'm saying that I know more and more consumers that
aren't consuming. I mean a lot of us have turned off the TV news."
Mayor Bill Campbell|
"People say they want substance, but they love the other stuff. That's why
when Jerry Springer took off the violence, the ratings went down. People
love to see all the violence. They love to see all the conflict. And I'm
telling you, it's not an absence of leadership in the American public, it's
an absence of followership. People say they want substance, but they love to
watch the other stuff."
"Well, you got 24 hours to fill. So you know,(LAUGHTER) whereas, on CBS, you
know? And Mr. Rather, you're talking about, alright, boom, half an hour. And
you're gonna cover the substance and leave all the crap alone. But 24 hours
to fill, you got people looking under desks, (LAUGHTER) under tables,
diggin' in people's pockets. You know, looking under their tie, you know?"