Tag Archives: MSNBC

Why Facts Matter

I read a disturbing, though unsurprising report this morning. It’s from the Union of Concerned Scientists and has to do with climate change. Since this is a business blog we won’t get into the politics of that issue. I will, however, use my bully pulpit to remind you that unlike many of the challenges we face, money or power won’t buy you a different planet on which to live so you won’t have to deal with Earth’s climate.

Back to business.  The report looked at the three main cable news channels and the scientific accuracy of the statements they made with respect to climate change.  This is important since CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC are the most widely watched cable news networks in the United States, and their coverage of climate change is an important source of information for the public and for policy makers. Thirty-eight percent of American
adults watch cable news and cable news coverage of climate science often reflects and reinforces people’s perceptions of the science, as the report states.  What did they find?

Using specified criteria, we determined whether the individual segments identified dealt with climate science and whether the portrayal of climate science was consistent with the best available scientific evidence at the time of broadcast.  Of the CNN segments that mentioned climate science, 70 percent were entirely accurate, while 30 percent included misleading portrayals of the science.  Of the Fox segments that mentioned climate science, 28 percent were entirely accurate, while 72 percent included misleading portrayals of the science. Of MSNBC segments that mentioned climate science, 92 percent were entirely accurate, while 8 percent included misleading portrayals of the science.

My point here isn’t to promote to bash one network over another.  If you’re making business (or other) decisions based on what you hear from a particular source, you might be missing quite a bit of information.  Even worse, as this study shows, you may have quite a bit of wrong or misleading information.  If the most accurate network got a bunch of critical information right only 92% of the time, how accurate can your facts be if they come from any single source?

Facts matter.  Just because a news organization (or a bright consultant) tells you something doesn’t make it factually accurate.  When a few independent sources do so, you’re probably on solid ground.  That’s the place we need to find.  Are you coming with me?

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Huh?, Reality checks

Overcoming Your Brand

I meant to write about a something I read a couple of weeks ago and of course I forgot about it.  Better late than never, hopefully.

The piece was a blog published by NPR about  readership of media outlet websites.  As it turns out, users are turning to websites belonging to cable TV news ahead of websites for newspapers.  I wasn’t really surprised but it raised a thought I’d like to share and about which I’d like to get your take. Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Thinking Aloud

See Me, Pay Me

MSNBC Digital did something really interesting yesterday and it raised a couple of questions in my mind. On the one hand, they’re making a powerful statement about the accountability possible with digital advertising. On the other hand they might be raising a number of issues for their corporate cousins in other media. But let’s review what they’ve done and I’ll let you decide. Continue reading

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Cooler Heads

I’d really like to write about politics since I think there is so much going on that’s grounds for an interesting discussion. But I won’t. Want to know why? It’s because I want you to finish reading my stuff and not dismiss it because of some political position I’ve taken.  It’s because too many folks get aggravated just by the thought of discussing political matters and that aggravation gets in the way of a productive discussion. It’s really interesting how a simple question about anything in current events can lead to polarized yelling.  People see their positions, not words,  and quit reading.  So while you may think there’s some political message coming, you’re wrong. Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

What’s New?

It’s Monday.  A new work week.  Maybe a fresh start?  Probably not, at least not unless you’re thinking and trying new things.  When was the last time you broke a media habit and watched a different outlet’s news?  Glued to CNN all day?  How about MSNBC or Fox?  Same stories, maybe, but VERY different perspectives, and that other lens might change your thinking.  Continue reading

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Rachel and Pat

I enjoy watching Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanan.  Their segments together on MSNBC are interesting to me (and even to Fox News, apparently) because they are  as far apart as two people can be but are able to have a discussion about the issues without engaging in personal attacks.   Unfortunately, this is not common (any more) either in politics or in business.

How do you behave in business? Is everyone who disagrees written off as a jerk or do you listen to what they’re saying and weigh it against your position? They may be wrong about the facts – you can correct them. You may disagree with their interpretation of the facts – you can show them there is another way to think about them.  I’ve had people explain to me in excruciating detail how their way is the ONLY way to think about something  and get our business to someplace  we both want to go.  I’ll often ask them to pretend we are driving to that place and a bridge has fallen en route – what’s the other way?

Then it gets tricky – one of you is going to have to agree to try it the other person’s way. If your way is the agreed-upon solution and you fail, you need to do a couple of things:

  • Figure out why
  • Change your thinking
  • Reach out to the other person and compliment them on their excellent thinking (well, it WAS better than yours this time!)
  • File the entire incident under “learning experience” and move on.

If you are right, you need to do a couple of things:

  • Do a silent victory dance when you’re alone
  • Reinforce the good parts of your thinking and think about that parts that may not have been spot on
  • Leave the other person alone unless you’re into getting beaten up and want a reputation as an “I told you so” jerk
  • File the entire incident under “learning experience” and move on.

The key was what Pat and Rachel were doing – an intelligent exchange of ideas expressed in an honest and open way and received in the same manner.  Run things this way and you won’t always win but the business will and, over time, you’ll be surprised how often you all end up on the same page.

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