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REVIEW: Eric Bischoff's TEDxNaperville, Why the News Media is stealing from the Pro Wrestling playbook

By Sean Lanigan

What if I told you that the news media was stealing from the pro wrestling playbook? Being a lifelong fan of the professional wrestling business led me to a TedxTalk starring Eric Bischoff. Bischoff spent decades in the wrestling business and couldn’t help but see the comparisons.

After beginning with an insult to the crowd, Bischoff illustrates how the next speaker would have gotten a standing ovation. His job is not to make people think but to make them feel. Bischoff states, “Professional wrestling and news are the two most enduring forms of content that there are.”

For decades, pro wrestling has been one of the most-watched forms of entertainment on television because of the energy on the screen. And some news media outlets know that as long as you feel passion for one side of an issues debate, the business will be very strong due to this divide. Truly objective news is hard for people to find these days. It is interesting to note that Bischoff worked for Ted Turner, the media pioneer who founded CNN, the first 24-hour cable news network, and owned a wrestling company named World Championship Wrestling(WCW) for several years.

After CNN’s 1980 launch, other cable news channels began to arrive on the scene in the 1990s, and the news model started changing. Bischoff explained, “Fox and MSNBC followed the business model and what they realized was it is a lot cheaper to put three or four talking heads into a studio talking about the news and giving opinions about the news than it is going out and actually reporting it.”

There seems to be a lot of media today that presents talking heads debating and arguing opinions. In the 2011 documentary Miss Representation, Rachel Maddow, a host on the MSNBC network, admitted to the following:

“I could be delivering the same script, same graphics, same news studio, and wearing the same thing, but if I deliver the same speech yelling and screaming, I am going to get double the ratings. Ok, that’s why people yell.”

Yelling and screaming back and forth, it sounds like two professional wrestlers going at it on the microphone.

Watch the full TedxTalk here:


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