Using the word “we” when talking how one’s favorite sports team -- say the Los Angeles Lakers -- can be troubling. Shouldn’t the word be “they” or perhaps "those guys"? Who is actually getting those multimillion-dollar contracts?
Now, we are hearing a different kind of “we” from on-air hosts of cable TV news networks. Vox says commentators on Fox’s “Fox & Friends” use “we” a lot -- especially when it comes to talking about the Trump Administration.
For example, Vox says there has been an uptick in those hosts using sentences that start with: “We need to, We are going, We have got...” with regard to actions that should be taken by the Trump Administration. Vox analyzed the show’s transcripts for 17 months.
This is not how journalists should speak -- whatever the channel's political leanings. But for on-air commentators or pundits, we might understand the language -- especially if there are some obvious associations.
At the same time, we know TV news networks like Fox have seen higher ratings and more advertising revenues. Other news networks have, too. The Trump Administration’s controversial news content may have something to do with it.
Looking deeper, this kind of association may not be so bad for cable entertainment networks in general. A lot would depend, of course, on that content.
An ABC “Scandal” fan, an AMC “Walking Dead” viewer or a Fox “Empire” follower all have their key engagement metrics. Social media helps fuel this, providing a sense of community -- even as traditional TV ratings decline.
TV network sales executives might say something like: TV viewers are more valuable than previously believed. TV advertisers need to pay more for them, due to heightened engagement.
And for those networks that don’t have high levels of social media in connection with their TV shows? Maybe those viewers aren’t as valuable. If that is the case, other strategies need to be amped up.
If pure-entertainment content providers want to yield stronger results for their programming, maybe they should use more “we” voices.
Viewers will feel more inclusive when it comes to shows on the verge of being cancelled. Think about social media memes such as: “We don’t want this show to go away -- even if we aren’t making millions!”