I had an interesting experience this wee…

I had an interesting experience this weekend as I drove to and from Savannah, a round trip of ten hours: without a backlog of podcasts or an audio book on hand, I had to wing it in terms of entertainment. What I ended up doing was listening to a lot of NPR.

For the most part, it was alright. Aside from the hosts of “All Things Considered” (a pretty sweeping declaration) who have the narcissistic habit of repeating their names every three minutes, the coverage was pretty interesting. Everything from phishing to a pretty balanced look at Afghanistan.

I was even surprised when I heard an NPR station spend an hour talking about tobacco without using the words “evil” or “deadly”. Of course, it turns out it was a local production from the South Carolina NPR station, so they were probably on the take from Phillip Morris anyway.

But the thing that blew my mind the most was the absolute hubris of the host of On The Media, which ran a segment about how search engines are changing reporting. For this, the host interviewed the SEO chief of Tribune Interactive about how they handle search engine traffic and so forth.

The topic of Google Trends came up, and the host kept yammering on about how it was wrong for news agencies to look at Google Trends and use it as a cue to go investigate. To him, this violates some rule of journalistic ethics against giving readers what they want to hear about, demanding instead that the journalists use their discretion to decide what the people deserve to hear about.

This guy runs a show that analyzes the media, so you would hope he would be something of an outsider, but this seems to be a pretty brazen view in to the mind of the media.

I can’t quote the segment because they haven’t uploaded the transcript yet, but if you’re interested, follow the link and listen to the MP3.