Tag Archives: Jay Rosen

Audience Atomization

One interesting point that the article on the sapping of the strength of the mainstream press failed to mention was that, frequently, events or opinions make a significant splash because they fall within the so-called “Sphere of Deviance.”   While it’s true that such views are frequently silenced before they can make headlines, there is an entire culture built around using them for profit.   Many extremely conservative or liberal figures, whose views fall outside of the accepted realm of consensus, are able to build careers on their extremism.   Ann Coulter, for instance, frequently garners the attention of the mainstream media because her views are so radical that they cannot be ignored (and because they sell newspapers).

The reason for this phenomenon is, of course, that people are excited by shocking news.   Just as a news report regarding a bear falling onto a trampoline becomes a hit on Youtube, people respond strongly (even if frequently negatively) to political beliefs that are so ridiculous as to go against the national consensus.   Hence, reporting on “deviant” views can be pretty profitable, even if it runs against the views supported by the particular media distributer.