Bill Haenel

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On that subject...

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Posted by Bill Haenel on 18-Mar-10

I have only one thing to say to the blizzard of folks who are buzzing about President Obama supposedly banning recreational fishing: Congratulations. Now grow up.

I mean, really. Are we so hard up for consumable news that we have to look into every little possible twist we can get in order to drum up some bad press about one of America's favorite traditional pastimes? This is a stretch at the very least, and I'm surprised at the people jumping on that particular buzz bandwagon. Really.

It would be easy to say that this strategy of spreading a fictitious ban story is all about trying to get Obama out of the White House. But I'll bet it's really much simpler and more primal than that. I think, like so many things, it's about money. Fox is in the business of selling space. The space they sell surrounds news. The more people who read, watch or listen to that news, the more valuable the space is around it, and thus the more money is made on that space being sold. In my work, I recommend that my clients try their darnedest to do this sort of thing all the time. I call it building audience, and Fox is really expert at doing so.

While we're on the subject, it seems that both sides of the argument are benefiting from this bit. To entertain yourself, do a quick Google search on "Obama Fishing Ban". You'll find there is no shortage of news articles covering this issue, all selling the audience generated by this buzz storm. Genius. Absolute genius.

Panic sells, and it doesn't matter what the topic, you can always find someone willing to panic about it, and they will always be willing to tell their panicky friends about it as well. There is an art to creating stories that incite panic, but once you've found the formula, it's easy to do it over and over again, like leaves falling from the money tree in a perpetual Autumn media forest.

In the meantime, the folks getting their panties in a bunch about this might want to settle down and get a grip. It doesn't take much to see what's going on here. So don't be a part of the media's latest realization of how they can become a part of the multi-billion dollar, multi-million consumer/audience fishing industry - one of the only industries in America that is growing during the recession. 

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