Media Moves

NYU professor: Here's what's wrong with "Marketplace"

September 17, 2010

Posted by Chris Roush

New York University professor Jay Rosen writes about what he dislikes about “Marketplace,” the National Public Radio business show every morning.

Rosen writes, “The problem with this report is that it cannot decide if it wants to be the audible Wall Street Journal or Adam Smith for Dummies, a business person’s show, or a show for people who only know about business from the consumer or lay person’s side. Deciding on this is too hard a problem for the mush minds at Marketplace, so it tries to be both. It wants to impress us with some taken-for-granted knowledge and also treat us like morons who don’t know their interest rates from their Nielsen ratings.

“That is what I hate. I would rather 1.) listen in on a sophisticated conversation that is sometimes over my head, or 2.) have a show that is specifically made for me as a consumer and occasional victim of big business. What I do not want is a program that splits the difference. But that is what Marketplace is. It is controlled by a weak and condescending idea: You’re don’t know crap about business… oh and by the way Japan’s Nikkei index climbed .7 percent to 9,582.22.

“Mostly, however, Marketplace wants to be brief. Brief is the program’s real ideology. And that is a weak, condescending idea. You’re busy, Marketplace tells us. A person on the move! You don’t have time to actually understand this stuff. But you feel you need to know about it… and you are soooooo right. We bring you people who do understand these subjects. They can acquaint you with them painlessly (briefly) so that when someone in your circle mentions the discount window at the Fed, you can say to yourself: I’ve actually heard of that. (Hey, is it really a window, or is that like… a metaphor?)

“This is what Marketplace Morning Report is about: arming us not with ‘knowledge of,’ but ‘acquaintance with.’ (The distinction originates with Robert Park.)”

Read more here.

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