I haven't written about the latest Judith Regan obscenity because writing about the controversy only helps the bottom-feeders at places like Harper Collins and Fox television. (Full disclosure: Harper Collins published my book; and the Sunday Times is a News Corporation company.) But now that this nightmare is over, it's worth remembering what it represented. In much of the media, there really is less and less interest in the actual content of books or television programs these days. What matters is merely the sell, which increasingly means the hype. The actual product comes last in priority. With free markets comes great freedom but also some responsibility: to publish books worth publishing, to air TV shows actually worth airing, to care about content as well as ratings and sales. Those criteria are distinguishable from what the market will reward. That distinction has been lost in many places. It is not a criticism of the market; it is merely a reminder that markets also require integrity among those who work in them. That point deserves recovering.
Everything else was said better by Paddy Chayefsky. If you haven't rented or Netflixed "Network" recently, do yourself a favor.
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