Apr 06 2009

Stop The Presses: The Old News Media Is Going Extinct – Updated

Published by at 8:28 am under All General Discussions

Updates at End

Sometimes it takes years to see your predictions come true. Working for the federal government on large projects I am sort of used to that characteristic of things, but does take patience to actually have to wait years to see the dominoes slowly fall, one by one.

Back in May of 2005, when this blog just started out, I wrote this post (post number 24) :

The NYTimes has a VERY interesting piece today on why the MSM’s reputation is in disrepair. The amazing thing is they feel it now – so maybe the disgust with MSM sloppinesss and propagandizing has begun to take its toll.

First off we need to remind the MSM is that to consistently fall for unsubstantiated anti-Bush and anti-conservative stories and trying to pass them off as ‘discoveries of fact’ is what has ruined the reputation of the media. Their primary asset is objective, quality reporting of all sides of important national issues. Their consistent bias and errors have ruined their product offering. You can only yell “wolf” so many times, present the chicken little “end of the world” predictions so often, before the lack of any of these coming true erodes all confidence in you as a source of fact and information.

Years later I noted how investors in these companies should start making adjustments soon, or else the companies would fail:

It is simply astounding that after years of biased and error prone reporting the news media is surprised that America is turning away from their shoddy products. The liberal, dinosaur news media is like the US Auto industry in the 1970’s and 1980’s, blissfully ignorant of how their arrogance is destroying an industry others spent lifetimes building. What others had built, this current generation of naive egomaniacs bred on fluff, lacking all substance and depth, have crippled the nation’s newspapers:

There should be no surprise, then, that faulty products lead to lost sales, revenues and bankruptcy. What should be happening is investors should be taking the egomaniacs who supposedly run these organizations (or at least have run them into the ground) to court for incompetence and failure to address known and publicized issues.

I and many have noted that the ‘news media’ is now just cheap and shallow entertainment media. One of the wondrous ironies of the Bush administration is that Bush made it through his two terms, the old news media did not. They came out mortally crippled, and we not get to watch the fruits of those disastrous, liberal biased mistakes:

There’s a mutinous mood on Morrissey Boulevard, as Boston Globe staffers lash out over a stunning ultimatum from parent company The New York Times Co.

On Thursday, Times executives told representatives from the Boston paper’s 13 unions that they must trim $20 million from their budgets by May 1 or the Times would shut the paper down.

The move came days after the Globe reduced its newsroom work force by about 70 employees, full and part time, through a mix of voluntary buyouts and layoffs.

“We’re going to go through the same thing three months later,” said a frustrated union boss.

I can’t begin to list the news corporations who have or are going belly up right now. But I can point to the reason they are – Americans are competing and winning at bringing INSIGHT to today’s most important issues and events. We are beginning the age of the Electronic Pamphleteer, which I wrote about in April 2006:

In our earliest days of discontent we Americans had the Pamphleteers. Those rowdy individuals who felt they had to say something because times were ‘not right’. The reason I and others blog do what we do is we know the times are ‘not right’. We are just simply debating what to do! And with all these large scale debates we get the good, the bad and the ugly.

At our nations conception, the street corner speech was amplified by the Pamphlet – a paper that allowed people far and wide to engage in the debate, even if just to listen in. As the times became tumultuous, the Pamphleteers grew in number. Soon newspapers were doing news and opinion.

Modern voices were amplified by radio and TV in the last century. That is when the Murrows and the Rathers held sway. Their voices were the loudest as the medium constricted the broader voice of America. The newspapers that criss-crossed this nation became echoes to the voices on TV and a few larger outlets like the NY Times.

Then came three letters which changed the world as we know it: www. Growing up on the internet has been an experience, I assure you.

The Internet had to come of age with websites and ISPs and tools so that ordinary people like myself could spend a few minutes a day pontificating. But it changed the world because no longer did the news media corporations control the debate. The Internet amplifies my voice world wide (and I see this in the locations of people reading this site). It is stunning to experience.

Blogs are controversial because so many people can voice their opinions. It is vibrant and controversial to have opinions of high and low caliber available to the readers. But it also allows for dynamic and shifting alliances. Well known bloggers rally on one matter and erupt into open warfare on others – showing we are not monolithic thinkers (basically sheep at the knees of information masters).

The blogs challenge the conventional thinking of reporters, who do little more than glance at a life’s work and attempt to pass judgement. Blogs allow experts in fields or those with experience to point to the flaws and fallacies of the journalists who barely grasp matters they try and report on. The facade has been ripped from reporting, and some are not happy. 

Reflex actions are responses to stimuli – stimuli being the act of our senses gathering information (news). Response to simple stimuli without analysis and thought is a reflex. Analsysis of facts and development of a measured response or reaction is called ‘thinking’. I can think of many insulting examples of people reacting to news without thinking.  The idea that thinking is wrong is ludicrous.
The marriage between the blogosphere and the reporter is now one where we bloggers are now the editors and challengers. We come in and say “did it ever occur to you Joe Wilson was working for the Kerry Campaign when he lashed out about Bush using known forgeries to go to war?” We challenge the reporters to dig farther, think beyond their blinders.  We are not trying to bug them, but do this  because it is so obvious they missed a lot of information which totally changes the story. Some can complain about this role – but it works. Reporters who grasp the concept will become better guardians of ‘facts’ than those that run from the challenges.

The bloggers are simply America’s voices, sometimes screaming in solo but many times in the harmony of a choir, letting the media and the pols know they missed something big. And analysis is our argument to our point. Get used to it – we are here to stay.

It seems we will be here long after the old news media goes extinct.

Update: Micheal Kinsley notes the fall of the news media, and cooks up some pretty stupid solutions to address it.

It is tempting, but too easy, to say the problems of newspapers are their own fault. True enough, the industry missed a whole armada of boats. If newspapers had been smarter, or moved faster, they might have kept the classified ads. They might have invented social networking. But that’s all hindsight. I didn’t think of these things, nor did you. Judging from Tribune Co., for which I once worked, the typical newspaper executive is a bear of little brain. Until recently, little brain was needed.

Emphasis mine – and to this day little brain is used.

Suggestions are pouring in — sometimes with checks attached — that newspapers should become nonprofit foundations, or that foundations should supply investigative teams and foreign bureaus and other expensive accessories. Or that limits should be placed on the nefarious practice of “aggregation” — Web sites lifting the news, via links, from other sites. Or that customers should be forced, somehow, to pay.

How about new media outlets harness the intelligence and experience of the vast sea of sharp minds with hands on experience that now inhabit the blogosphere? Nah! We should limit the choices to the brain dead old media!

At least Kinsley identified the problem right, and who cares if some fools follow his silly advice?

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Stop The Presses: The Old News Media Is Going Extinct – Updated”

  1. kathie says:

    ……..and that’s a good thing!

  2. djl130 says:

    It is a curious thing…I can’t help wonder WHY they didn’t try to hire more liberterian or conservative writers and employ a more balanced approach. It just made sense. But now – it is way too late. Likewise, you would think the publishing biz would take a clue from the success of Mark Levin’s book.

  3. archtop says:

    I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. If you want the “products” supplied by the mainstream media to change, simply stop buying their existing “products”! I do not get premium cable (no “news” networks), I do not visit the MSM websites, I don’t buy any national papers (and go through the trouble of refusing the “free” USA Today garbage that hotels try to foist upon you), I don’t buy any news magazines or related publications, and I try to avoid purchasing any products from MSM-related companies (alhhough this is tough to do given the media monopolies that companies like Time-Warner or Viacom enjoy).

    And, most importantly, I try to educate my kids and others who ask my opinion about the utter garbage dump that our present day news media has become. It’s little wonder these days that journalists have an approval rating only slightly above that of the average used car saleman…

  4. penguin2 says:

    I can’t wait for these bastions of the “truth” to bite the dust. Even if people did not read an article, the headlines were distorted enough to leave a negative impression about the Republicans. Political party identification is almost always left out for the negative Democrat story, but always reported when it is a Republican in trouble. It has been an insidious brainwashing that has been successful for the left over the past 40 yrs.

    We canceled our local paper the day after the election, after 20yrs. It had gotten so bad over the past 10yrs. we were just keeping it for a few local tidbits and out of our loyalty to our carrier. By the way, the local content was also clearly agenda driven. It is to be expected that with the rise of the internet, the print media would decrease; but, I believe that the loss of subscriptions is significantly related to the papers’ bias politics. Many of us want to have paper in hand with morning coffee. We now get the Wall Street Journal delivered to our door, wish we had done it sooner.

  5. Frogg says:

    I, for one, find it sad. A fair and free press is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. I’m grateful, beyond words, for the new media (blogs). I gave up national papers years ago (still get local one about our community). And, I have been saying for over four years now that “if it weren’t for blogs, I’d have no news at all”. I think our print media could save itself if it would return to journalism 101 (who, what, where, when and why) and mix in various and opposing views in the their op-ed pages. However; I don’t think they have what it takes any more. They suffer from their own “group think”.

    Years ago, if you asked a Journalist why he chose that profession…

    he would respond that he wanted to find and “report the truth”.


    he would respond that he wants to “change the world”.

    The problem is that most Americans actually know the difference.

  6. WWS says:

    Not that I’m a big fan of Kinsley, but if you read his article through he explains why those proposed “fixes” won’t solve any of the real problems.

    His conclusion is basically “let them die.” I must say that I agree.

  7. marksbbr says:

    I’m probably the only one here that thinks this way, but I’ve always believed that the newspapers are dying out because nobody is going to pay for a print edition of the “news” when they can read the same articles online for free.

    But when it comes to the “news” networks, without a doubt there is a reason why Fox outranks CNN and MSNBC… undeniable left wing bias, especially from the latter. Watching MSNBC is actually a little funny, however, in how they portray Obama and his policies.

  8. AJStrata says:


    I actually think what you said was the root cause. But the media could have held off the ‘cheap’ path if they were producing high quality, unbiased ‘news’.

    People thrive on accurate information – it is the essential human commodity from which all of our economics and societal structure emanates.

    Lousy information means rejection by the masses hunting for good information.