CNN vs. BBC: Profit vs. Service
I am disgusted every time I click a video on CNN.com and am forced to watch an advertisement. It’s supposed to be news. What’s next, library books?
The situation is made more obvious when you compare it to the BBC website where, when you click a video, it plays the news.
To poke a stick in the wound, the BBC’s reporting is better as well.
When they have political guests on, they actually ask them hard questions, and pursue them, and force them to define their positions and take responsibility. It’s what people call journalism.
On American news outlets the ads come first, followed by the diluted-for-simpletons stories. And when they have politicians on, they aren’t really allowed to ask hard questions or mix it up with them.
This is not what we were promised
CNN is “free market” driven. The BBC is a government service. So the former should be dramatically superior, when in fact it’s measurably the opposite.
Why is this?
The answer is simple: CNN is a business, not a news organization. To them, news is simply how they make money. To the BBC, providing news is their purpose for existing. It’s their duty to the country. It’s a public service.
There is a single takeaway from all of this:
Don’t. Mix. Profit. With. Services.
Doing so creates conflicting goals with conflicting incentives. News, healthcare, education, safety—when money is placed above the benefit of the population on these fronts, everyone suffers.