The media did it, with a twist


Who or what is responsible for the current economic crisis? We’ve already seen polls that level blame on the media, at least in part, by focusing on bad news and destroying consumer confidence. Now Harris is out with a poll with another way to blame the media. This time, the media is responsible by causing people do buy things they couldn’t afford. However, advertising agencies, not broadcasters, are at the head of the blame parade.

Harris asked, “How much responsibility, if any, should the following groups take for the current economic crisis because they caused people to buy things they couldn’t afford?”

66% of all respondents said that advertising agencies bear “at least some responsibility.” The agencies are followed by print media (59%), News and other information websites (56%), talk shows on TV and radio (55%), cable news programs (54%), and network and local news programs (53%). The only non-media category tested by Harris was “friends and family,” which were comparatively let off the hook with a 46% response.

The older demos were most likely to level blame. Those aged 55 or older handed out higher percentages to all categories except friends and family, which they let off the hook to an even greater degree with a 42% response. The 45-54 cell was about on par, and the younger groups were less likely than to blame the media.

RBR/TVBR observation: It is so easy to blame the media – it’s screwing up our children, causing poor health, destroying values and causing the north wind to blow out of the south. Let’s get real – every time someone sticks the blame on the media because it is there, all it is doing is slowing down efforts to address the real roots of a problem.

In this case, we will go so far as to question the entire validity of this poll. If Harris asked what people thought was the major cause of the economic crisis, and they responded that it boiled down to people buying things they couldn’t afford, then it would be cool to find out who influenced the people.

But we don’t think buying unaffordable things would be a very popular answer to the open ended cause question. We suspect Harris’ question was something most hadn’t really considered at all, but come to think of it – why, yes! – it is the advertising agencies’ fault!

So in the end, we think this poll illuminates nothing, but it does open the floor up for a little more gratuitous media bashing.