Archives » November 4th, 2003

November 4, 2003

All seven continents

Simon Coggins is heading off to a research mission in Antarctica, and he’s taking his weblog with him. Blogging has now taken over the world.

You’re safe with CBS

Today Lileks pointed to About Last Night, an arts weblog that today is talking about CBS’ decision not to air the Ronald Reagan biopic. I don’t care much about the miniseries itself, wasn’t planning on watching it or giving much thought to the controversy. But Terry Teachout uses this decision as an example of something much larger that’s going on:

CBS has publicly acknowledged, albeit implicitly, the growing weakness of Big Media. Now that the common culture is a thing of the past, lowest-common-denominator programming is harder and harder to pull off, as is lowest-common-denominator editing. To do it, you have to keep lowering the denominator further and further. When your overhead is as high as it is at CBS, you can’t afford to give offense, nor can you afford to be sophisticated.

His point is that these days it’s so much easier to organize a boycott, so while in the past controversy might have been a ratings booster, now it eats into ratings. In a time when it’s easier than ever for everyone to voice their own opinion, it’s getting harder and harder to please everybody. And these big national companies, like CBS, have been in the business of trying to please everybody for over half a century. Their job is getting harder all the time, which is bad news for them. Whether the watering down of the networks is also bad news for us is another topic entirely.