Drama trumps truth and importance, Seth Godin on the news

Marketing guru Seth Godin wrote two great bits last week on how the news is screwed up.

First: The New York Times should only publish something if it’s true and important.

If I were editing the Times, I’d look at every single editorial feature, every single article and ask if it met either of the two things the Times could stand for. If not, that piece should be gone, deleted, unassigned. No sports section, for example. If you can’t be the best in the world, don’t bother, because someone else is going to get my attention. The Times needs 50 more bestseller lists, 20 more trusted stories about real political fact and insight, ten more cultural touchstone features… and a lot less filler, a lot less copycat stuff and nothing, nothing about Barbara Walters.

Second: Even reporting on hard news like election results CNN favors drama over truth.

There isn’t media bias in favor of Hillary…. Nor is there media bias in favor of floods. There’s media bias in favor of drama.

Most of us are inclined to believe that government officials, doctors and the media are making an effort to tell us the truth. Actually, just like all marketers, they tell us a story.