Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Death of the Mainstream Media

In a news analysis on MSNBC, Howard Fineman postulates, "A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don't mean the Democrats. I'm talking about the "'mainstream media....'" He terms it "the AMMP (the American Mainstream Media Party)." Following an interesting analysis of how the mainstream media got to where it is today, he concludes:

...the last thing the AMMP needed was to aim wildly at the president — and not only miss, but be seen as having a political motivation in attacking in the first place. Were Dan Rather and Mary Mapes after the truth or victory when they broadcast their egregiously sloppy story about Bush's National Guard Service? The moment it made air it began to fall apart, and eventually was shredded by factions within the AMMP itself, conservative national outlets and by the new opposition party that is emerging: The Blogger Nation. It's hard to know now who, if anyone, in the "media" has any credibility.

And, as Walter Cronkite would say, that's the way it is.

And as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "When you strike a king, you must kill him."


In the Washington Post on January 14, Howard Kurtz gives his take on the Fineman article and other subjects. Interesting read.


Blogger howard said...

I like your selection of the Emerson quote at the end, and in general I find Fineman's analysis comforting.

The demise of the old news giants will undoubtedly cause some confusion along the way, but the prospect of finally opening up space for news sources that don't feel so invincible, ones that may actually exist to serve the audience, rather than lead it. My first hand knowledge on this is scarce, but I've heard that the news was, once upon a time, considered a service, not a source of propaganda or entertainment. That would be nice to see again.

If the current "mainstream" media does survive, it will be by adaptation, which reminds me of an unattributed quote I see on the wall at work everyday:

"History is full of giants who couldn't adapt."

1:16 AM, January 13, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

I suppose one of the most important questions is how did newspapers and TV news become "giants" in the first place? As they all scrambled to try to become the next Edward R. Murrow, or Woodward & Bernstein, we were co-conspirators. We let them get away with it.

I've spent a lot of time, for many years, carefully reading and watching/listening to the media. It has long seemed to me that any reasonably informed person couldn't miss the blatant liberal bias of the mainstream media, even in cases where I happened to agree with them. It has always troubled me that intelligent voices on the left so eloquently claim there is no liberal bias in the media. It troubled me not so much because I thought they were wrong as because I thought maybe I was somehow missing the point.

But then I also read the less-influential conservative press and watch/listen to sources like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh once in a while, and their biases are equally evident to me. It seems to me that the key and telling difference is the conservative press readily states they are conservative and are generally proud of it. The liberal mainstream media, however, not only will not admit their liberal bias, they believe they are so profoundly correct in their views that it is absurd to challenge them. Well, it seems they've seriously over-reached, and the diminishing influence they're suffering is well-deserved.

Maybe we're headed to a time when we can trust the press to simply report the news factually, with their personal opinions relegated to the op-ed pages, where they belong.

I strongly recommend reading Bernard Goldberg's "Bias." The book is outstanding. Goldberg, a CBS insider, describes Dan Rather perfectly, and Rather's recent humiliation is perfectly consistent with Goldberg's description of him.

3:25 AM, January 13, 2005  

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