As events in the aftermath of the shooting in Ferguson, MO continue to barrel along, the coverage continues likewise, to barrel along, crushing anything in its path. In today’s media, readers are presented with two options while viewers are presented with only one when trying to follow the news and make sense of the police shooting.
For viewers, their only choice is a a quasi-array of politically motivated viewpoints fueled by corporations who have monetized the news cycle with advertizing revenue. One will hear what one prefers to hear by tuning into the proper cable channel. All reports will be short on facts and long on commentary that may or may not rise to the level of critical analysis. Consider that one new tidbit of fact or analysis per hour can be keep a viewer watching fourteen minutes of commercials.
For readers, they can turn to their delivered newspapers or read the various news journals online such as Huffington Post, Slate, Salon, and Politico. All of the websites, including the New York Times online, have discovered that most readers do not read beyond the first page. Most readers of the New York Times in the print edition do not read the articles to the final paragraph either. Readers are not necessarily more driven or virtuous than viewers.
The answers to the pressing questions in Ferguson, MO will not be simple, straightforward or elegant. The answers will be as messy as the event was. Everyone wants to know the answers but the data shows that few will take the time necessary to learn them.