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.
5 thoughts on “Gentlemen, your coats …”
Wonderfully cogent post! Wouldn’t it be great if CBS embraced the change wholeheartedly? Somebody will be out in front, that’s for sure.
Batten down the hatches you just got linked to by Instapundit.
By the way, “The Schumpeterian Gale” would be a great name for a blog, a yacht or a band that plays exclusively in campus areas coffee house. It kinda sings.
Very nice post Lex.
Here are some comments I sent Glenn when I read his post:
As you said before, blogs mostly process information, and most of that is the garbage dumped on them by the MSM. Blogs basically have the power to call “Bull$#!+” and occasionally to amplify or evolve sound ideas. There is also herd mentality in the blogospere, just like the MSM.
I’ve also noticed in the past that many great discussions occurred on blogs (and still do at sites like Vodkapundit and Chicagoboyz), but when it is clear that facts, logic, and reality aren’t in favor of one side, Trolls move in with distractions. They are a bigger influence than we care to admit. We are all pretty reactionary. Trolls muddle good discussions, influence future posts, and steer the broader conversation to quibbles.
MSM implied that focus on RatherGate lowered the level of the discussion, but there was a rather large volume of quibbles blogs were basically forced to address. And I think to really get to the bottom of where this political discourse is at, you need to address your questions to the MSM. Even if the memos were real, claims genuine, his sources credibly; WHY THE HELL WOULD RATHERS DO THAT STORY!
Headline: Bush Skipped ANG Phys, CO Miffed
or how about this one: Kerry Uses Service as Political Tool on Grandiose Scale
Yeah, it’s just the blogosphere that has failed to elevate the conversation.
Great post. And incredibly, well, cheerful. The boundless energy and optimism, the sense of potential, that comes through from your vision is, well, heartening, at the end of a long day.
Congrats on Instalanche.
Your comments remind me of the unspeakably funny episode of Beavis and Butthead where they are accidentally put in the gifted class. The teacher says, “Beavis, I’d like you to make up a poem that expresses your inner feelings”. He says, “Huh. Yeah. Huh huh. OK. I gotta drain the lizard!” And she says, in a tone of sincere academic appreciation, “Oh Beavis, your language is so raw and vital!”
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