How to lose credibility as a news organization in one insipid poll.
If you’re CNN and dumbing down your content to US magazine levels, you greet your Monday morning web visitors with the inane question, “Should Michelle Obama Run For President In 2020?”
My media maven friends keep asking me why I’m so negative about mainstream media lately, and pools like this strain journalistic credibility beyond acceptable levels. By my reckoning this morning, U.S. citizens woke to:
- Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with troop buildups.
- Military operations in the country with the 2nd largest Muslim population in the world. (Yes, folks, that’s Pakistan, and we are indeed engaging Pakistan in military action.)
- A domestic economy in ruins with decades-high unemployment rates
- The impending bankruptcy filing of the company at #4 on the Fortune 500 and severe financial troubles requiring government intervention in 5 others in the top 20.
- Environmental damage on a global scale.
- An earthquake 75 miles away from Rome that killed at least 150 (Want to see the headlines if there was an earthquake in Richmond, Virginia, 75 miles away from DC?)
- An Asian nation attempting brinksmanship and threatening its neighbors.
- Continuing riots in London, this time from the Tamils who can’t quite grasp that they lost their civil war in Sri Lanka so are now bringing the cause to western Europe.
Right now, I don’t know if Barack Obama should run for President in 2012, and I really can’t worry about three cycles from now. But, you know, Queen Elizabeth put her arm around the U.S. first lady, and if you happen to believe in the divine right of royalty, that can be considered an anointment.
I do know that between Twitter, email and streaming news on my desktop that I knew about these issues almost as they happened. My media maven friends question the quality of the news, and yet we don’t even have good financial sources remaining.
One’s best bet is to use an aggregation site, train yourself on why the Dow is a worthless indicator of anything and pull in your news from multiple sources and multiple countries. Google News is especially adept at this if you use the controls designed to let you filter items of interest to you and your business.
As small businesses, our futures are dependent on acting on quality information. Wasting time on a poll about Michelle Obama doesn’t help anything. I’m much more interested in what the Treasury Secretary is doing and how to conceptualize the trillion dollars G-20 leaders said they would bring into the world’s financial systems. I have no idea what that trillion dollar means, but I’m reasonably certain Michelle Obama (love her — the amazing career work/life balance woman) has nothing to do with this infusion of funds that didn’t exist two weeks ago.