Posted by Lexington Green on September 22nd, 2004 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Instapundit quotes someone as saying the blogosphere is not “elevating the political debate”. The MSM gets outed by the guys in pajamas when they lie or when they are inept or both. They have no basis to whine about “elevating” anything.
The MSM is supposed to be doing a Big, Important Job. Just ask them. And it is failing to do it, as it has failed to do so for a long time. Just ask everybody else. But the peasants now have the will and the means to raise Hell about it. Good. Pointing out that the purported facts, which form the basis of all political debate, are all too often composed of partisan-motivated lies is a way to purge if not elevate the political debate. Once you have vomited out the poison, then you can stand up. That is the process our body politic is in right now, puking out Dan Rather and similar toxins into the porcelain memory hole of history. Elevation will come after the dry heaves are gone.
All the MSM really needs to do is be the professionals they have falsely claimed to be all these years. A real news organization which was devoted body and soul to getting the truth out, chips fall where they may, would embrace the new world that is growing up around it. It would draw on the blogs and other modern sources to get hot leads for stories, to fact-check, to get corroborating witnesses to events, or even photos or video footage, to get expert assistance and advice, almost all for free. Such a serious organization would issue swift corrections of mistakes and get on with it. Such an organization would be a blast to work for and would have the respect and admiration of all knowledgeable people. In fact, such an organization would be living up to what the MSM in its best moments has been and can be. The blogs have not replaced the MSM, and they cannot do so. They can enhance it or correct it, critique it, talk to it, question it, teach it, amplify it. The MSM won’t go away. Someone has to do this stuff for a living, full time, on a professional basis. Bloggers can’t replace that.
The real story is a happy one. The MSM is on the verge of a new golden age. If it would just learn to do its job, take advantage of these new developments, quit trying to be “gatekeepers” and drop the ideological and partisan shilling, good things would start to happen sooner rather than later. But nothing can stop the transformation which is happening now. You can surf the tsunami, or get crushed by it.
Technology changes the rules. It destroys cozy monopoly positions. It “disintermediates”. The Schumpeterian gale of creative destruction driven by modern technology is sweeping through all industries. That storm is now blowing the ceiling tiles off the MSM, the barometer is still falling, and the winds show no signs of abating. The hurricane will blow harder and the legacy media we have known will be swept up in one last swirling cloud of wreckage. Good riddance. The MSM will be compelled to adapt. The existing entities will mostly die, or their brands will be slapped on totally new operations. Those too senile to be transformed will be replaced by hardy new beasts suited for current conditions. And that is good and it is just and it is progress.