What do you do over the next 14 days or so if more sieges at the U.S. governmental institutions occur? What if this extends over a number of months?
In most instances, TV news networks have your back -- for two reasons.
One, newsgathering in high-intensity real-time news periods can be shifted to nonstop journalism and no advertising. That’s a network decision. Commercial messaging can stop on a dime.
Two, TV marketers don’t want to be anywhere near such highly emotional situations. A company doesn't want to sell car insurance, prescription drugs for psoriasis or high-quality cotton bedding to older Americans during such times to TV viewers.
Cable TV news networks, as well as big TV broadcast networks, eschewed advertising for much of Wednesday during the siege of the U.S. Capitol.
Of course, there’s another issue: Content on news platforms that advertisers support.
Social-media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter -- considered "news organizations" by some -- took action yesterday against politically tinged, but not necessary truthful content. Facebook is suspending President Trump’s account indefinitely. Twitter suspended Trump's account for 12 hours starting on Wednesday but could be permanent if Trump continues to violating Twitter rules.
TV networks have it somewhat easier.
They can do much to avoid specious, false content. From anyone. Especially if someone has a history of disseminating unreliable, explosively loaded content. That’s their journalistic choice, and thus, a big difference between social/digital media and news organizations like TV networks. The former is called a “platform,” while the latter is a “publisher.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protect social media and other internet companies from being sued over what users post. In turn, advertisers on social media can profit from highly engaging content -- truthful or not -- that can incite violence, against citizens or even the media. Freedom of speech and the press is not absolute.
Many networks, including MSNBC and CNN, being “publishers,” virtually avoided all remarks Trump made on Wednesday at a Trump-focused rally. Rally people then went on to ransack the Capitol. And for almost the entire day, there wasn’t a TV-advertiser to be found on any major cable TV networks. They didn’t profit.
Longer term? That’s another story. In the future, what ways do you want to see all news platforms/publishers operate?