Thursday, September 20, 2007

Establishment Media

I like to read Jay Rosen over at Press Think. He's a smart guy. Uses big words occasionally. Suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome. A few months back he created a stir by accusing bloggers of being just re-write scamsters and not Real Reporters. Without Establishment Media they wouldn't exist, he claimed.

Most recently he wrote that the White House Press Corp was foolish for flying around with President Bush on the visit to Anbar and ASEAN Economic Conference. He got a reply from a White House Press Corp Member who, for obvious reasons choose to remain anonymous. This led to a series of public exchanges that are fun and well worth the read, if you love newspapers and care about the future of Establishment Media

I made a couple of comments and he took minor umbrage and sent me over to the folks at The Next Hurrah where a similar dialog was taking place.

I couldn't resist responding at both sites. Rosen got my juices flowing, TNH allowed me to expand and state my case for change in Establishment Media before it is gone... I don't ordinarily read such sites. I find personal attacks on the President offensive. I find any personal attacks shallow and boring. It really doesn't matter if the person is a private citizen or public figure. They reflect more on the character of the speaker (writer) than their object.

In the off chance that you wouldn't stumble across their sites or read their posts comments I will take the very tacky step of quoting myself... I urge you to follow the links and read the dialog. Its fun, interesting and shows why Establishment Media is in such a sad state.

There is (almost) no competition in news or reporting. It is in (almost) nobody's financial interest to rock the boat. Owners like profits. Editors like their jobs. Nobody wants to work hard. Politicians need press coverage. Politicians want to be celebrities but are too old and ugly. Choosing one political Party means a politician can look wise (depending on the party) find allies, get their name in the paper and get elected. Being controversial means feeding the press prepared statements. Spin-it, highlight it, give the press a power-point slide show or video... Depending on the party chosen, you the politician will either be attacked or ignored or given glowing praise. The issue is not important. Your mustering of facts are not important. Your veracity are not important. Only Political Party matters for then the Establishment Media know how to slant your story, vet your facts, picture you in front of something important...

Truth is gone. Nowhere in the posts and discussions by Jarvis, Rosen or WHHWWR or here at TNH is there any indication of a quest for truth. Just a "story"... Personality tales will do when there is nothing else or when you get lazy.

The paying public is no longer buying just any old story. We can make up our own. We are as good at plausible scenarios as Hollywood, DC or any Establishment Media fabulist, fabricator, plagarist, enemy propagandist. We buy media and support the advertisers for news. We want the facts as close to the truth as possible. Our trust is being betrayed.

The Establishment Media seldom reports on each other or in competition with any other. Nobody is interested in trying to find a story that the others haven't already covered and vetted. Safety in numbers like a pack of Beagles. No responsibility for getting it wrong. No bonus rewards for getting it first.... Being fed the well spun pablum by the WH and all of Hollywood/DC. The Press follows the President like a pack of well fed Beagles.... The Clinton/Thompson WH media organization was a wonderful manipulation machine. When the "Bimbos" kept erupting, the Press played it down. Chewing more and more spin was easier than fighting for supper.... Lewinski was ignored by the WHPC as long as it could. Same with the Swiftboat claims, the challenge to the Rather/CBS story was ignored for months. Rather/CBS didn't defend themselves or the story with facts. FOX Cable news went first... The seven others followed. Now the Democrat candidates are trying to punish FOX. DO they think we don't notice that seven out of eight TV news channels carry the same stories with the same tilt with interchangeable blow-dry Pretty Faces-? (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, CNBC, and FOX)... Attacking FOX means they MUST be very very powerful... Or maybe they can't be controlled by threats to have their access cut off-? Either way Clinton and Edwards did FOX a great service and showed how tame the rest of the Establishment Media is. The Establishment Media could have had their own "Sister Souljah" moment by standing up and not allowing one of their industry to be censored and bullied... The silence was deafening.

The future of the News Industry is in the hands of Establishment Media... Lord Gnome now has the WSJ and NYPost and the whole NEWS Corp empire.... The NYTimes shareholders and bond holders may start to feel some pain in their wallets... Too bad the Boston Globe is gone... along with many other fine names and great histories... No company deserves to live forever... Betraying the trust of the marketplace is a fast way to vanish. The sad part is They don't go down fighting. They just go down... (K-R, McCormick, etc)

If the President is holding a briefing or interviews with bloggers it would indicate that the Establishment Media is losing its relevance. Quibbling about who or what was said etc ignores the basic point that the time of the single most powerful person on the planet was dedicated to spending a few minutes with heretofore unknown bloggers... Making jokes about whether the President has the mental capacity to hold a detailed conversation insults him, the American People who elected him twice and BOTH Harvard and Yale who awarded him a degree... Such comments (Rosen) only do more to support the notion that bias, hatred, bigotry are endemic in those who profess to seek facts and report the truth...

Being bigoted and biased and opinionated is good when there is competition. The market can decide and choose what it likes. When the voice is the same as seven out of eight TV news outlets and almost all the major print organs, its just cowardly. Speaking out when there is a market penalty is far more dangerous than speaking "what everybody knows to be true"... Rosen, Jarvis and WHHWWR show they do not want truth, they do not know how to compete and they would be much more content if we all would sit down and shut up. It's a nice game. It's also boring.

Brette Harte reported that a miner came to town and lost all his winnings in a crooked game. When asked why he had played, knowing it was crooked, he said "It's the Only Game in Town"... The internet is a disruptive force. It is neither good nor evil. It disrupts established order and changes the marketplace. Just as has flown under the radar with little to no Establishment Media inquiries about their management, financiers, friends, etc so too have the bloggers been ignored. There is good reporting going on. Rosen made a lot of headlines attacking those who offer comment and re-casting of Establishment Media. Too bad he couldn't see these free market editors doing for their audiences what the well paid professional editors were not doing. Too bad he fails to notice the real-live reporting that occurs around the blog-O-sphere.

There is more than one game in town and the numbers show the public is aware. The advertisers are following... Last Hurrah-? Not yet, but it's comming soon... and it doesn't have to be... That's the truly sad part.

The Jarvis I refer to is Jeff Jarvis of Another smart guy who occasionally uses big words. He is very New York in his outlook. He's a gentleman who never goes after the personality. I also believe he truly sees the Establishment Media in deep trouble and is concerned.

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