On the MSM

Despite what you might think from reading my blog, I don’t want the mainstream media to fade away. I think the MSM thinks of itself as the “fourth branch of government,” thus, like many bureaucracies, is unable to change quickly. That is a major problem in the internet age, where 1 year is a very long time. The mainstream media has a perception issue, well, actually two. Their first issue it their perception of themselves as the bulwark of freedom and information. Sorry, folks, not any more, I would question if ever. Their second issue is their audience, who view them as biased (and this refers to them all, including FoxNews), and rightly so.

The first time I heard this was in 2004. In fact, I emailed this article to myself, and have kept in my email since then (packrat that I am). Al Neuharth, founder of USAToday wrote back on 11 Nov 2004 (archived copy) that the MSM bias is its trouble, along with its intent to bury us in ads.

Ron Rosenbaum just wrote an article, Shocking Inside DC Scandal Rumor: A Media Ethics, that isn’t nearly as surprising as he thinks. This happens all the time.

However, where the real damage occurs is locally. The Spokesman-Review is “downsizing” (archived copy). Their ad revenues have fallen. Go back to the man who had the foresight to add color to the newspaper (Al Neuharth).

The recent debacle at the New Republic regarding their less than stellar vetting of an “on the ground” soldier in Iraq, doesn’t help the situation. The MSM’s only hope is quicker and thorough vetting (Yes, that seems to be an oxymoron, but a way must be found.). Also, content that is more neutral and fact-based. This cannot be done be cutting back staff. This cannot be done by more ad revenue (Ads turn people away, remember?).

Do I have an answer? I wish. I just know that, “that’s the way we’ve always done it,” will kill off the MSM.