« more on shortcuts | Main | Off his strings »

Surreality television

I should start by noting that you could tie me to a chair, pump me full of caffeine to keep me awake, and glue my eyes open, and still, I'd rather sing Copacabana over and over to myself than watch reality tv. And frankly, I think it's an ugly turn in the genre, watching Ted Nugent, Andy Dick, Donald Trump, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson some rich guy (and they're all guys) making a bunch of puppets dance around in front of cameras for table scraps from their respective fortunes.

That being said, even though I won't watch "The Benefactor," I've found it interesting over the past few weeks reading Cuban's blog, as he talks about the show and what he's tried to accomplish with it. I first started reading his blog for the interesting take he provides on the NBA, a take that's largely free of traditional "sports media" clichés.

Anyhow, Cuban posted today about the coverage that his show has been receiving from one of the local papers, the Dallas Morning News, which is part of the same media conglomerate as the ABC affiliate that airs his show:

The relationship between the entities suggest that there would be the opportunity for mutually beneficial cross promotion. It could also suggest that there could be the risk of being perceived as being less than journalistically objective if any favoritism was displayed. Call me crazy, but the businessperson in me says that the best way to deal with the situation would be to just convey the facts in any reference used.

What follows is an analysis of the show's varied levels of success in different markets, one that tells us a lot more about the show than the unbelievably obsolete Neilsen ratings do (or than the DMN writer apparently does). It's smart stuff, and it pointed out to me the virtue of a site like Cuban's, where he doesn't have to pretend that he has no stake in what he's talking about, be it the Mavs or the Benefactor.

It's interesting to me how "journalistic objectivity," esp in an age of media cartels, comes to be more and more of a smoke screen. As Cuban notes, the DMN is free to print whatever it pleases, and they'd almost certainly be criticized for cross-promoting a show if they did so without admitting their relationship to it. But that relationship is always already a factor, whether they're positive about it or not. And it's hard to disagree with Cuban's basic message, which is to get the facts and the context straight, regardless of their interests.

That is all. Time for lunch.


great entry... come on now.. you have to watch monday night just to say you did :)

enjoyed it !

btw, i found it via daily updates on