The 12 Principles Of Cable News Thinking

As explained by marketing guru, Seth Godin:

1. Focus on the urgent instead of the important.
2. Vivid emotions and the visuals that go with them as a selector for what’s important.
3. Emphasis on noise over thoughtful analysis.
4. Unwillingness to reverse course and change one’s mind.
5. Xenophobic and jingoistic reactions (fear of outsiders).
6. Defense of the status quo encouraged by an audience self-selected to be uniform.
7. Things become important merely because others have decided they are important.
8. Top down messaging encourages an echo chamber (agree with this edict or change the channel).
9. Ill-informed about history and this particular issue.
10. Confusing opinion with the truth.
11. Revising facts to fit a point of view.
12. Unwillingness to review past mistakes in light of history and use those to do better next time.

What do you think?


  1. Ian

    Sounds about right. The primary reason I don’t watch cable news is I always feel manipulated by it. I always end up angry, either at the issues or the newscasters themselves. Talking heads create lines in the sand on issues that I shouldn’t necessarily be forced to choose between side A or side B. The Tea Party fiasco is almost orchestrated by FoxNews. I just don’t like how it feels like the cable news is generating the issues, not simply finding them and analyzing them. We have to have opposing opinions on everything, when I don’t think that is truly necessary.

  2. Jordan

    I won’t say that other cable news organizations are immune to it, but there have been a far few posts around the interweb about how Fox will create the situations that the end up reporting on that end creating more situations, i.e. a true news ‘cycle’.

    There seems to be little nuance or ability to provide room for creative thinking or collaboration, or at least that is how things are presented. They are either black or white, right or wrong. Unfortunately, for those who only get news from the tv, I think it can create such a mindset which makes political progress difficult because they don’t want to be ‘in the wrong’. Hopefully the ability for net users to collate from a variety of sources will provide at least the following generations with the resources they need for making informed decisions.

  3. Diane DP

    If you can’t be bothered to research, just lie or say what the hell you feel like

  4. Glenn Beck is a prime example of tell lies then deny you ever said it….that is why I love you tube…these little idiots are always getting caught if their winkies in the pickle jar….