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Monday, March 09, 2009

Values or Incentives?

Is accountability the right word in describing those that make decisions? Does it really matter if values aren't really the main focus? Kaplan, to me, has described an emotional basis for people's reasoning behind their beliefs. It seems this author has described American citizens as either rationally irrational or rationally ignorant voters because of their convictions-- convictions of what they should value vs. their values based on self interest.
Typically, if you make an expectation, you hope to see the expectation come to fruition. In an economy that only sees what the media gives it, media seems to take the "low road"when getting expectations done almost like a honey- do list. So, where do these expectations come from?
The media seems to take the simple expectations that a citizen would apparently accept i.e. jobs and fair distribution of income and amplify these ideas that these expectations should exist and considered necessary for each citizen. Don't you want the American Dream? Shouldn't the government give you the lifestyle you deserve?Essentially, there is no problem with believing in expectations unless those that expect something without the use of their own action(s), surrender their choices, and in this case to government is where there is a problem. Now, this blog is not placing the blame on media, but it's the curiosity of media's incentives that is valuable since there are still many citizens that follow the media. In an article by Daniel Sutter titled "News Media Incentive and Growth in Government", states how direct biases affect their business; how the government is portrayed in the news; and the pressure to keep their jobs. News media like political authorities have some things in common: keeping their jobs; expanding their income for their department; and keeping up with the demand for news. In Sutter's article it is no surprise that he discusses how the media complements the government for its own survival. But why did the two ever meet? - Direct & indirect Biases. It seems to me that in order to stay afloat amongst those that read and buy their papers they must become influential and to do that they need to get a grasp on what their readers want to hear. By writing stories about people's lives it seems easy to not just publicize news in the towns, but what effects these towns. Sutter comes in to discuss that direct biases in the media strikes the wrong notes to the readers, so the media gives in to being less rebellious with their motivation of survival. It seemed easier also for the reporters to discuss the government as the hero, so that they aren't prosecuted by officials and conform to a neutral state of expectations about the government thereby encouraging more news stories when there aren't enough crises in the towns. But in the 1990's the news has reduced its consumption on government stories to tell. The author points this reason towards the shift in people's interest about the government. Such statements from others like "Washington is a joke". Perhaps the joke is on the readers or those that want an interesting story with their expectation ( coffee and a bagel). Perhaps the desensitization comes in effect even though the author makes no such claim. Like switching to hot and cold water repetitively- it gets annoying. For readers going through the stories 24-7 it gets even more annoying to hear different takes on a story and different coverage when flipping through news channels especially stories that are highly embellished. What does this decline in news stories about the government mean for the readers?- Trend toward letting government actions exist without the people? It is not the separation of the media and political authorities from the citizen that is the trouble it is the expectations that every person has no matter their position (i.e. blue collar, politician, reporter). And it's not the charge of deceiving others to survive, it is surviving in a market place with the effects of rational ignorance and rational irrationality as a vice. Link- http://www.independent.org/publications/tir/article.asp?a=39

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