Chris Hedges gives a sermon from his high-church pulpit decrying the devil internet. It’s not worth the effort to fisk but it is notable for bringing together every claptrap curmudgeonly cliche imaginable. As a museum piece, it is notable. But it is also wrong in so may ways. He says:
The decline of newspapers is about the rise of the corporate state, the loss of civic and public responsibility on the part of much of our entrepreneurial class and the intellectual poverty of our post-literate world, a world where information is conveyed primarily through rapidly moving images rather than print. All these forces have combined to strangle newspapers.
Oh, ferchrissakes. The decline of newspapers is about the irresponsible management of newspapers that did not take advantage of new opportunities and recognize new realities until it was too damned late. The corporate state he decries is exactly what is now suffering for its sins; see the billions in stock-market value lost. Post-literate? We’re reading more than ever. And I wonder whether rapidly moving images are somehow worse than merely moving images. To hell with talkies.
Sadly, he doesn’t stop:
The Internet will not save newspapers. So far, the really big advertisers have stayed away, either unsure of how to use the Internet or suspicious that it can’t match the viewer attention of older media.
That’s patently untrue and as out-of-date as everything else Hedges says. Big advertisers are all over the internet, but in a post-scarcity economy, they no longer have to pay the monopolistic prices of newspaper companies. You’d think Hedges might celebrate that, except that then he’d have to decide whom he hates more: news companies or the marketing companies that have supported them. Will the internet save newspapers? I don’t care. It’s journalism that matters to me. And the internet is doing wonders for journalism.
We live under the happy illusion that we can transfer news-gathering to the Internet.
Well, he’s right about the happy part. News alerady has come to the internet, where it is faster, more complete, more global, with more voices. Oh, why am I bothering? Oh, just one more:
Bloggers, unlike most established reporters, rarely admit errors.
I hope he corrects that gross and false generalization. But I doubt he will. Damned reporters.