The dinosaurs whine

Three former titans of news wrote pieces in the last week that are revealing, I think, of their view of the new media landscape: They whined about the passing of what they thought was their captive mass audience. But they don’t understand that the audience was never mass and never captive, and given a chance at choice, we took it. That is the natural order of media. They blame network executives and even the government for the decline of what they define as quality, important news. But the truth is that the public is going elsewhere to get news and these demititans’ definition of news did not always serve that public.

: Ted Koppel wrote his inaugural guest column in the New York Times (sorry, it’s behind the Select wall) mewling about broadcast companies killing the mass audience by targeting demographics:

What is, ultimately, most confusing about the behavior of the big three networks is why they ever allowed themselves to be drawn onto a battlefield that so favors their cable competitors. At almost any time, the audience of a single network news program on just one broadcast network is greater than the combined audiences of CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

Reaching across the entire spectrum of American television viewers is precisely the broadcast networks’ greatest strength. By focusing only on key demographics, by choosing to ignore their total viewership, they have surrendered their greatest advantage.

Poor fellow still thinks that the networks are in charge of our media lives. The truth is, Ted, that many of us prefer The Daily Show and the Colbert Report. Some prefer not to have to wait up for the news. The advertisers prefer targeted audiences. And the large audiences of broadcast are doomed to shrink. The networks aren’t your enemy, Ted. You have seen the enemy and it is us.

: Aaron Brown writes a speech and the Palm Beach Daily News quotes him:

“Truth no longer matters in the context of politics and, sadly, in the context of cable news,” said Aaron Brown….

“Television is the most perfect democracy,” Brown said. “You sit there with your remote control and vote.” The remotes click to another channel when serious news airs, but when the media covers the scandals surrounding Laci Peterson, the Runaway Bride or Michael Jackson, “there are no clicks then,” the journalist said.

With the departure from the screen of the “titans” — Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather — who “resisted the temptations of their bosses to go for the ratings grab, it will be years before an anchorman or anchorwoman will have the clout to fight these battles,” he said.

I think poor Aaron is kicking himself for not fighting against Lacivision but also kicking himself for the shrinking audience that lost him his job. Can’t win for losing.

: The most amazing of these three pieces, to me, is Columbia Journalism School Dean Nicholas Lemann’s piece on Edward R. Murrow in The New Yorker in which he argues in favor of government regulation of TV news. I find it shocking that any journalist would invite government interference in speech but especially in the news. Even he seems to realize it’s shocking, but he does it anyway:

The structure that encouraged Murrow, uncomfortable as it may be to admit, was federal regulation of broadcasting. CBS, in Murrow’s heyday, felt that its prosperity, even its survival, depended on demonstrating to Washington its deep commitment to public affairs. The price of not doing so could be regulation, breakup, the loss of a part of the spectrum, or license revocation. Those dire possibilities would cause a corporation to err on the side of too much “See It Now” and “CBS Reports.” In parts of the speech which aren’t in the movie, Murrow made it clear that the main pressure on broadcasting to do what he considered the right thing came from the F.C.C. The idea that, in taking on McCarthy, Murrow was “standing up to government” greatly oversimplifies the issue. He was able to stand up to a Senate committee chairman because a federal regulatory agency had pushed CBS and other broadcasters to organize themselves so that Murrow’s doing so was possible.

It isn’t possible anymore–not because timid people have risen to power in journalism but because the government, in steady increments over the past generation, has deregulated broadcasting. The Fairness Doctrine no longer exists. Regulation, license revocation, or reallocation of the spectrum are no longer meaningful possibilities. The advent of cable television brought a new round of debates over government-mandated public-affairs programming, with the result that private companies were granted valuable monopoly franchises in local markets; in return, they were required only to provide channels for public affairs, not to create programming. That’s why cable is home to super-low-cost varieties of broadcast news, such as C-SPAN, local public-access channels, and national cable-news shout-fests, rather than to reincarnations of the elaborately reported Murrow shows from the fifties. The rise of public broadcasting has freed the networks to be even more commercial….

News that makes money is alive and well; the incentive to present news that doesn’t, like all of Murrow’s great work, is gone. It is difficult for journalists to grapple with the idea that outside pressure–from government officials!–could have been responsible for the creation of the superior and memor-able journalism whose passing we all mourn. But look what has happened since it went away.

But, of course, if you’re trying to please Washington you’re in danger of displeasing Washington.

But nevermind. What Lemann, Koppel, and Brown want is some way to get us to eat their veggies. Koppel says it: “Now, television news should not become a sort of intellectual broccoli to be jammed down our viewers’ unwilling throats. We are obliged to make our offerings as palatable as possible….” Brown said it: “Brown said he tried to give viewers a balanced diet of light and serious news with NewsNight. ‘But I always knew when I got to the Brussels sprouts, I was on thin ice,’ he said.” Lemann clearly wants news he thinks is good — which, incredibly, he defines as news that doesn’t make money — to be part of a government-approved food pyramid.

These guys, and oh, so many of their former colleagues, just cannot get out of the notion that they should be lecturing us about what they think we should know, and they think the only way they can do that is if we are forced to watch them thanks to mass media.

Gentlemen: It’s our country. It’s our media now. It’s our time and attention. Sorry if we, the people, disappoint you. But does it occur to you that you disappointed us? Mind you, I’m not criticizing the work of these men. Koppel is a wonderful newsman. Brown could put me to sleep with his doe eyes but he, also, is a good newsman and a nice guy. Lemann certainly earned his journalistic stripes. It’s not their work that’s the issue. It is their attitude toward the public they so badly want to serve. The market is not a bad thing. The market is us.

And it is their definition of success that is the problem. Thanks to the old days of mass media — when we were, indeed, captive, to the products of a few big companies in what was the real age of media consolidation — they still define success as getting one message to the largest possible audience. I think we must redefine that. I see a new measure of success in hearing more voices and more debate, for example. I see an overall explosion of interest in news — but news of many definitions — and I call that a measure of success as well.

I watch my son, Jake, who has nothing short of an addiction to news at Digg.com and I call that a great success. OK, so it’s not a newspaper. Yes, it’s about tech. But it is news. At our session on the new tools of news at CUNY this weekend, Jake gave the professors a tour of Digg and explained why he liked it and trusted it. That was the most controversial moment of the weekend. It brought out a great discussion about new means of defining news and trust. (And Jake held is own most admirably.) I hope the former employers of these gentlemen are having just that kind of discussion and that they leave the tears in beers to these former titans.

There’s more media than ever and that’s good. There’s more news than ever with more ways to gather it and more ways to distribute than ever. And, I argue, there is more interest in news, and that’s great. Redefine news, reacquaint yourself with the audience, and recalibrate success.

: LATER: See this quote from Dave Barry, who used to write for newspapers.

We can no longer compel people to pay attention. We used to be able to say, there’s this really important story in Poland. You should read this. Now people say, I just look up what I’m interested in on the Internet.

It’s a good interview with Barry: “Newspapers,” he said right off the bat, “are dead.” Ready the rest here.

  • JSinger

    Gentlemen: It’s our country. It’s our media now.

    If traditional high-prestige journalism (evening news, newspapers) were being replaced by defining down “news” to “our media”, plus Digg and Comedy Central, I’d regard that as a pretty dismal situation.

    But, of course, that’s not what’s happening. (For one thing, blogs, Digg and Stewart are all totally reliant on the major journalists for their raw content.) The NYT hasn’t lost me to Jon Stewart, it’s lost me to their website and CNN.com (International setting) and the BBC site.

  • http://www.wildebeat.net/ SteveSgt

    I find it interesting that in this post you complain about newspapers that move their content behind a payment wall, but then you talk about cable TV and satellite radio as if it is not. They are the same in my opinion, they are services that charge admission, rather than relying on a patronage model for funding.

    Though I agree that the lack of permanent links is a problem.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Great post Jeff.

    Much of Big Media’s woes do stem from, if it is a word, Luddite-ity.

    If only you would become the token leftist to admit that a significant part of their troubles also germinates from warped elitist wordviews and extreme ideological bias.

    You seem to toe a line. You don’t shudder from calling MSM clowns jurassic, elitist, or arrogant. Yet you steer clear of addressing the actual content/propaganda of these media organs.

    It’s the inferior and offensive content that sends media consumers to other outlets as much as it is the technology.

    I would love to sit on my deck and get my news from a newspaper – there is just no such satisfactory product.

  • Ravo

    These guys, and oh, so many of their former colleagues, just cannot get out of the notion that they should be lecturing us about what they think we should know

    Ted Koppel’s Opus” makes the point well.
    Too funny!

    Cyberspace to Ted: The 18-to-34 year-olds aren’t disinterested in news, they’re disinterested in you–or Brian Williams or, for God’s sake, Bob Schieffer–telling them what the news is.

  • http://writingup.com/ashok ashok

    I see an overall explosion of interest in news — but news of many definitions — and I call that a measure of success as well.

    The trouble is the “many definitions.” If a community can’t agree on what the facts are before a debate, then is the debate possible? I hold America can have deliberative institutions that work, but “deliberation” isn’t the case now – probably because the Lefties can go over to the Daily Kos and get conspiracy theory from there and the Righties can go over to Little Green Footballs and get their conspiracy theory there.

    Then we can all scream at each other over the Internet and through candidates, and call that democracy.

    The question ultimately boils down to whether one trusts populism or not. I trust it when a strong sense of tradition is involved (tradition must be engaged both critically and appreciatively). What I see now is anarchy – economic libertarianism from the Right & moral libertarianism from the Left. All of us want something new, and are willing to ditch everything that came before to get it. Hence, news, which nowadays is us finding other people who tell us what we want to hear and calling ourselves informed.

    I’m with Lemann. Either gov’t – which is by the people, of the people & for the people – can insist on objectivity and some loyalty to the Union from news organziations, or we can watch where this rapid decentralization goes.

    I’m sorry. I don’t trust the American people enough to believe this is a good thing for the country. I trust our institutions far more than individuals; it is our institutions which keep us free, ultimately.

  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    Jeff,
    You always concentrate on how news gets distributed, but not on how it gets gathered. All of the secondary distribution channels that you constantly point to as innovative are really parasites off the primary news gathering services.

    I would be interested in seeing some examples of actual news gathering done by these new channels. Even the few original releases in the blogosphere can be traced back to some print or broadcast item that was previously overlooked, like the Trent Lott incident.

    Perhaps the day will come when government insiders start calling the bloggers instead of Judy Miller, but it hasn’t happened yet. And, even if they do, how will anyone know if the material is valid, there isn’t even the most minimal system of verification in place.

    The big breakthrough in the 20th Century was when advertisers figured out how to sell people things they not only didn’t need, but that they actually didn’t want. So it’s not clear who is controlling the media marketplace, consumers or vendors.

    Perhaps your hobby horse will consist only of extolling new channels, but without addressing the issue of content we may just end up with “truthiness”.

  • http://www.laurencehaughton.com laurence haughton

    I agree. Great post.

    Two questions:
    1) How long have these guys (and their peers) held us in such disdain?
    2) Who the hell is Aaron Brown?

  • Marina Architect

    The “Anchors” represent a hideous and limited in scope Monarchy. The Net has forced media personalities to relinquish their crown. Lay it down man. Walter Kronkite is irrelevant as the other news personalities. I prefer Atrios and Josh Marshall and I’ve never even seen them in motion.

    I listen to “NBC’s Meet the Press” Podcast and have no need to watch the program. The Daily Show, Bill Maher and all the news/political/current events shows should release podcasts.

    If you have content, no moving images are required, hence the big personality has been replaced with pure editorial content.

    I personally prefer Podcasts to talking heads. It’s a cleaner finish. I’ve made the complete transition.

  • Ravo

    I trust our institutions far more than individuals;

    Institutions such as our MSM, lost the public’s trust when it turned to passing viewpoint off as objectivity.

  • http://www.thoushallnotsuck.com Mark

    You always concentrate on how news gets distributed, but not on how it gets gathered. All of the secondary distribution channels that you constantly point to as innovative are really parasites off the primary news gathering services.

    This was the point I was going to make (although I wasn’t going to use the term “parasite” … probably more along the lines of “dependent”).

    There is some great investigative blogging going on (Glenn Greenwald at Unchartered Territory does a damn fine job), but for the most part bloggers haven’t yet gained the access afforded those in the corporate media.

    It will take a fundamental change in the thinking not only of those in the newsrooms, but the power players (politicians, business leaders, and others who are oft quoted) before blogging will truly take hold and take the place of traditional sources of info.

    I’m fairly confident that will happen eventually, but until then all us bloggers can do is hope that the corporate media we so often villify stays around long enough to bridge the gap.

  • Mark Sullivan

    It is real simple…the American public finally has an alternative to the leftist bias of the MSM…news reporting that isn’t objective cant be trusted so why bother to watch it….Long live Rush and Fox…their ratings are doing just fine….

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com David Foster

    “some way to get us to eat their veggies”…brings to mind the awful, overcooked vegetables served in my high school cafeteria, which no one would voluntarily eat if they had another choice…

  • Scott Suttell

    But last I checked, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher have good ratings, too. Stephen Colbert is doing very well spoofing O’Reilly, and Kos is one of the most popular web sites.

    It’s not just about alternatives to perceived left-wing bias. (I work at a weekly business newspaper; if there’s bias here, it’s the other way.) It’s people embracing a different way of getting news.

  • http://www.thoushallnotsuck.com Mark

    the American public finally has an alternative to the leftist bias of the MSM…news reporting that isn’t objective cant be trusted so why bother to watch it….Long live Rush and Fox

    I’ll spare everyone the treatise on the myth of a liberal bias in corporate media and just state that, IMHO, it has less to do with bias and more to do with lack of accuracy, no matter the policial leanings of those doing the reporting.

    At least with most blogs, you know the bias upfront and can filter the information accordingly. The best blogs also provide more research and effort in one 700 word post than a week’s worth of nightly news casts.

  • JSinger

    You always concentrate on how news gets distributed, but not on how it gets gathered. All of the secondary distribution channels that you constantly point to as innovative are really parasites off the primary news gathering services.

    Yup, that was the point I’d been trying to make, as well. Without CNN and NBC, what material would Stewart and Colbert have to sneer at? Pictures of Glenn Reynolds’ patio and some MySpace girl’s cat?

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Mark,

    “lack of accuracy” EQUALS “bias”.

    People who basically make stuff up tend to carve it in their own worldview.

    Almost reminds me of Dan Rather’s “fake, yet accurate” characterization.

  • http://www.mostlymuppet.com/ Seth

    I think the new model in newsgathering is the blog/vlog.

    Amanda Congdon and Rocketboom rely on “correspondents” for most of their “news” as does Currnet TV, which has some great “user-generated content” as they call it.

    And Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo is one of the best writers actually covering politics who’s out there calling those he reports on, verifying his sources and vetting his stories.

    I’ll agree that the world has a long way to go before CNN or NYT or Reuters of the AP or any of the news-gathering organs loses all their steam, I think the writing is on the wall.

  • http://unbeknownst.net KirkH

    Off topic but the Mayor of NYC just released a report saying “New York’s real estate market is expected to slow, however, with a 10% decline in home prices, a 14% decline in home sales over the next few years and a significant decline in real estate transaction taxes that have buoyed the City’s tax revenue in the last few fiscal years.”

    The Times failed to mention this staggering revelation in their coverage of the report. Why isn’t the traditional media covering the decline? The Times just had a piece last week suggesting women “get in, get in, before it’s too late.”

    So the mayor is saying real estate is about to crash and the Times is saying get in before it’s too late. Considering his background in finance, I’d believe the mayor.

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    KirkH,

    When in doubt, always take the other side of the NYT’s predictions.

    In practice this could be tough, given how often they contradict themselves, etc.

  • http://www.thoushallnotsuck.com Mark

    Mark,

    “lack of accuracy” EQUALS “bias”.

    People who basically make stuff up tend to carve it in their own worldview.

    Which is why I found it amusing that Mark Sullivan listed Fox and Rush — two of the most biased sources out there.

    However, bias is present in everything — it’s human nature to form an opinion on a topic, and damn near impossible to keep it out of something as highly charged as reporting on, say, political issues. The key is to present BOTH sides of a story. Something you don’t see on CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, et al.

    Take NPR … my guess is that most NPR hosts are liberal (the questions they ask seem to bear that out), but they go out of their way to get speakers from both sides of the fence on almost every topic they cover. In this way, they are able to give a complete profile regardless of any bias they may have. In short, they may have a slight bias, but they are actually the most accurate source of news out there.

  • http://www.billingsnews.com David Crisp

    “The best blogs also provide more research and effort in one 700 word post than a week’s worth of nightly news casts.”

    I must be missing all the best blogs. Who, exactly, does this?

  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Mark,

    Mark Sullivan listed Rush and Fox to illustrate that their ratings aren’t falling off a cliff.

    Rush and Fox are also battling the same new technology of the internet and the fragmentation of the media audience and yet are achieving different results than their MSM brethren.

    Mark, instead of disparaging Rush and Fox as “biased”, could you explain why they are still thriving?

    Going back to your original post. While your antecedents aren’t totally clear, you seemed to disbelieve the “myth of liberal bias” and attribute the MSM’s decline to a “lack of accuracy”.

    So it begs the question I already asked above. If Fox and Rush are still thriving, could it be because they are in fact accurate and not as “biased” as you claim?

  • ohhhhhyeah

    Do any of these old time media big wigs think for a second they would have had their jobs to begin with if they were bald fat black chicks? The only reason they were allowed to read the teleprompter in the first place is that they were semi-good looking white men with full heads of hair, period. Somewhere a big bald fat black chick runs a blog, and makes better points than any of the big three teleprompter readers could without a cheat sheet. No longer does delivering or commenting on the news require moussed up hair and makeup.

  • http://www.thoushallnotsuck.com Mark

    David–
    Two of my favorites are Talking Points Memo (on the left) and Red State (on the right). They all often link to documents directly from the government, do their own investigative reporting, and back up their claims with facts.

    The advantage (and the point I failed to get across well … my apologies) is that a reader often goes in knowing about a bias beforehand. Why is that important? Take the following example:

    You go to RedState and read about the NSA spying program. You read the piece and then check out their supporting material that says it’s okay.

    You can then go to TalkingPointsMemo to see what they have to say about the NSA program. You read their piece and their supporting material that says it isn’t.

    You now have both sides of the discussion, have read the research and can make up your own mind. You can even call BS on either site and engage in the discussion yourself.

    THAT is what makes blogs so great, IMHO. Instead of having one talking head telling you a story, you are able to get the entire story from both sides and, in the process, able to take part in the discussion. This is why the old guard will (again, IMHO) either have to adapt or go the way of the dodo.

    Captious–
    Actually, the “myth of liberal bias” is evidenced by a number of factors — the guests they have on their shows (i.e. last night CNN had three Republicans and just one liberal on their SOTU coverage), their unwillingness to do basic research (i.e. Katie Couric not bothering to fact-check about the Abramoff scandal and just repeat Republican talking points) and their coverage of the war (i.e. CBS willingly lists body counts, but doesn’t often do stories on those fighting the war and some of the progress that is actually being made).

    The fact that Rush and Fox are doing well has nothing to do with any amount of “accuracy” — they are factual car wrecks that are benefiting from Americans desire to gawk. They also benefit from an audience made of people who are already partisan and, thus, don’t question what they see or hear from those programs.

    Rush has been caught distorting facts or just outright lying dozens of times (just check out mediamatters.org). But the dittoheads just agree with everything he says like good little lemmings.

    Fox hires talking heads like O’Reilly who don’t tell the truth—instead they stir up or even invent controversy. And, as we all know, controversy sells.

    This isn’t to say that there is not a liberal bias in some outlets (CBS perhaps being the worst offender), but trying to hold up Fox and Rush as bastions of truth is laughable.

  • http://www.drcookie.blogspot.com JennyD

    Tell Lemann that government control and regulation of media has already been tried on a large scale–it was called Pravda.

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  • http://marginalizingmorons.blogspot.com/ CaptiousNut

    Mark,

    Why don’t you just say that Rush and Fox’s audience is nothing but a bunch of idiots?

    I know that is what you think. Why dissemble your feelings under so many words?

    Please be upfront and succinct about your own “biases” if that is so key to gaining an audience.

    I did not ask you about the “evidence of liberal bias” so you are answering a question of your own imagination.

    But then again, incoherent rambling dovetails nicely with your arrogance and vapid tangential pedantry.

  • http://writingup.com/ashok ashok

    I disagree with everything Mark had to say, but I thought he was very diplomatic and polite. I mean, what’s he supposed to say, that Rush & Bill O’Reilly get everything right? They don’t, & he’s entitled to his own opinion, which is that right-wing demagoguery has created the myth of liberal bias. I don’t think that’s entirely inaccurate anymore – you can’t have a bunch of people shouting “the media are liberal” and everyone accepting it as fact be the basis of a “fact.”

    I should say that I remember how things were before Fox News, and except for McNeil/Lehrer, it was very hard to get balance of any sort. I had to subscribe to NR in high school to have something which would at least let me see things differently. Time got really liberal when they started dumbing down and adding that section before the actual articles where they did “News in Brief.” They had Calvin Trillin from The Nation guest write, and he was funny, but he did present a particular ideological perspective. Newsweek, of course, got more liberal.

    And remember when CNN dominated as the network for news? I think it was very hard then for another side to get a fair hearing.

    Now all of this is anecdotal, and my judgement may not be the best. Still, what makes me think there has been and still is liberal media bias is the fact that I really had to search around to find a coherent conservative perspective that was respectable. The anecdotes I’m giving you are from the time I was growing up. I always wonder what would have happened if I were a good student and didn’t dig, and instead did my work in school like I was supposed to. I’m pretty sure I would be a liberal by default, and that’s the wrong reason to be a liberal.

  • http://www.thoushallnotsuck.com Mark

    Captious–
    I was trying to have a civil discussion, but since you want to toss around insults and act “holier than thou,” I think I can oblige and intentionally post something intended to be arrogant … although less “pedantic.”

    1. Bias = lack of accuracy = lower ratings is too simplistic (a point I didn’t make in my first post. That was my mistake.). Bias can sometimes = higher ratings (see: Fox and Rush) without also = accuracy. Other stuff factors into the equation.

    2. I didn’t call those who listen to Fox and Rush as “idiots” is because I don’t think they are — they’re just partisans who refuse to acknowledge that fact. If I thought they were idiots, I’d have posted that. Trust me …

    3. While many blogs, on an individual basis, show only one side, the blogosphere as a whole, shows ALL sides. That’s why it makes for a better system of media and was my original point.

    Is that simple enough for you, or do I need to write it out in crayon on a Big Chief tablet?

  • http://www.thoushallnotsuck.com Mark

    ashok–
    Thank you. I was trying to have a civil discussion, but others obviously won’t have it.

    While I may disagree that there is a pervasive liberal bias in all media, there is some to be sure … just not in the huge amounts some think. There is also a conservative bias that is getting stronger.

    Again, though, that’s why blogs are so important. The biases are out front, not hidden behind cloaks of objectivity, and the reader can get opposing views easily, or even immediately respond to those with whom they disagree.

    This leads to greater reader knowledge of a particular subject because the reader is getting each view of an issue.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion, as arrogant as some may believe it to be … :)

  • Ian

    And this begs my favorite quote from Rupert Murdoch from April of 2005:

    “And when you ask journalists what they think about their readers, the picture grows darker. According to one recent study, the percentage of national journalists who have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the American public to make good decisions has declined by more than 20 points since 1999. Perhaps this reflects their personal politics and personal prejudices more than anything else, but it is disturbing. This is a polite way of saying that reporters and editors think their readers are stupid. In any business, such an attitude toward one’s customers would not be healthy. But in the newspaper business, where we rely on people to come back to us each day, it will be disastrous if not addressed.”

  • http://www.laurencehaughton.com laurence haughton

    There’s a great bit of Yiddish wisdom that commenters should consider. “For example” is not proof.”

    Terms like factual train wreck, bias, accuracy cannot be measured by one Katie question or a dozen Rush opinions. It’s too small a sample. You need to start with an idea of all the questions Katie has asked, come up with a large enough random sample, and then measure for specific factors that add up to a bias. Anything less is not accurate.

    Also thanks Ian for the quote from “evil billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch” as he is known on the Simpsons. He answers my original question.

  • http://avc.blogs.com fred

    Go Jake

    he rocks

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  • Too Much Information

    The ‘medium is the message’…thank you Marshal McLuhan.

    Every thing else is like jelly in the donut. The content, its collection, its distribution, its vetting, is it too left, is it too right…all part of a curiously entertaining way to pass your time.

    That’s it…cyberworld is the new ‘donut’! Good bye print hello the ‘inter-do-net’

    The real issue is not the message…we can some how sort that…its getting comfortable with the fact that the medium is driving so much and how do we adapt. Life force changes are at play. Stuff new societies are build on here.

    Do your kids still read the comics on sunday morning? Doubt it very much. The world of IT is their culture and inevitable. However if they do or did, their scope of information would have been limited to the breadth and depth of that paper that day. We know, they know it is much more vast than that today.

    The simple fact: too much information….there is now just too much information to comprehend, true, false or fantasy. Can we evolve to manage this? We are coming more and more dependent again on the collection, the editing of this information for us. There is a reason Google is where its at…of course its genious…but it is what the isssue is today. How powerful is it today? Powerful enough to create major international diplomatic rows over the very issue of collection and distribution of information…as in the case with Yahoo and Google in China. You say, ‘well there, it is the ‘message’ that is the concern…yes but it is the extraordinary universal access provided by the new ‘medium’ which is the real driver here. Google has helped us cope with this new medium…better than a brilliant PA, but pray not at forsaking freedom of distribution of information from hidden editorials, or unscrupulous vetting of manipulative institutions.

    ..and just about the time we seem to get it right, the ‘medium’ will undoubtedly change again and we will need to reinvent again.

    The medium of print is over. Coffee culture tells us so…it’s romantic to pick up that paper, croissant and latte in hand, but WiFi is todays world. With dual processor cards, quad processor cards, electronic paper is a blink away. So don’t get caught with your eyes closed. As Dr. Phil says, ‘…love it…’.

    And a brief aside to Ashok…I do have faith that the American people are up to it. More scarey to me than a corrupt individual, is a corrupt Institution as they can influence a much larger public…Simply put, Institutions are only as honorable as the people at their helm. At the moment, there are many whom are having trouble with this institution we call the American Government. Travel overseas to almost any country today, and you will find, it is not the American people that the world distrusts, it is their government. The new media gives us better access and more information about our ‘global’ world….which if they’re watching will raise their awareness…can we hope for more than the power of the informed people to make their voice heard to facilitate necessary change?

  • http://dylko.blogspot.com Ivan Dylko

    Resentment of odl media “giants” is understandable. They are losing power – FAST!! But……….

    I still believe there’s a place for “fairness doctrine-” type media, because there are millions (maybe more than we think) of people in the U.S. who can’t figure stuff out on their own, and would be better served by “important stories from Poland”, etc. rather than by reading interview transcripts on websites or referring to media that are “economically viable.”

    People like Aaron Brown are still needed in our society. However, there’s nothing to stop blogosphere from taking over – for better or for worse…

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  • http://www.thenotebookcomputer.net note

    Great article. it worth time reading through the post.

    BTW,People like Aaron Brown are still needed in our society.