More Good Fruit from the Internet’s Destruction of the Old News Cycle

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Back in the olden days, private organizations, but especially governments, would release bad news on Friday afternoons in an effort to minimize public notice of the event. This was sometimes very effective since the institutional media, which has long been generally disinclined to publish anything that is truly hurtful to the legitimacy of the state anyway, also endured its smallest audience on Friday evenings when people were busy with their families from Friday night to at least Sunday morning. The extremely limited news cycle of that bygone era, mixed with the ability to severely limit an audience for breaking news with so few news outlets, allowed public relations machines to release bad news on Friday, and hope the unflattering events were overwhelmed by other events by Monday.

However, thanks to the 24-hour new cycle (that conservative types whine about), Bad New Friday is a relic of the past. News reaches the most interested audiences at all hours, and attempts to manipulate the news cycle are essentially useless. The regular media still often ignore stories they consider damaging to their pals in government, but this is less effective with every passing day.

12:58 am on December 23, 2009