Friday, July 18, 2008

I know it's a faux pas...

to repost comments, but Mark is so right on on this one:

Wet Bank Guy said....

First: The dominant media are dead as a Fourth Estate.

Next: The viability of the new media as a viable Fourth Estate requires net neutrality on the architectural (my ISP talks to your ISP regardless of content) as well as in consideration of the impact of platform ownership (who owns Google, Yahoo, etc.) where that could result in censorship.

Nothing short of insurrection is going to rescue the old media. They are gelded bulls, and no magic is going to put them back to what they were before.

The question is: how do we move forward to 1) protect the advances in the new media and 2) grow new media that have the same widespread impact as CNN or FoxNEWS (I refuse to seperate Fox and the other part of that into two words. New and FoxNEWS are two seperate things. FoxNEWS is the new benchmark for ideological infotainment that everyone is racing to get to in the old media.

I have always believed that the 4th Estate and the 1st amendment is the absolute cornerstone of this democracy. If it is compromised, we will fall. The ability to stand up and tell the truth is what allows this country to correct it's mistakes....and we have made a lot of mistakes. Without that ability, we will most certainly fall.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mark that we, bloggers, and internet media have picked up the torch and carry the real burden of speaking truth. I would not go so far as to render all "Old Media" resources redundant...but on the whole, they have become a farce.

While I think net neutrality is certainly going to define the longevity of internet media, I don't believe it will define the future of the 4th estate. My reasoning for this is that I have never ceased to be amazed at this country's ability to reinvent itself and for truth to find the public light. We go through dark periods, i.e. Civil War, Depression, Vietnam, but somehow the 4th Estate has always found a way to break the bonds of oppression and guide us back to the right track.

Granted, I think we are in the most perilous position we've been in since the fragile moments after the birth of this country, but I'm always amazed at the men who wrote our Constitution and just how wise they were. If we stick to the values set forth by those brilliant minds and stick to the guideposts they created for us, we will prevail. The system they set up is allows this social experiment we call America to reinvent itself at any moment. I believe in the first amendment more than I believe in any tenet or philosophy ever devised by man.

A quote from Thomas Jefferson:

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

And then this one:

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

Interesting huh? What Jefferson probably couldn't imagine at the time was the merger of the corporations with the newspapers (press) forming an unholy union...a union which can be easily manipulated by government and vica versa. I think that's called fascism (but I don't want to start an argument on the semantics of that word...been down that rabbit hole too many don't start one...unless we're drinking together then I'll go there).

Regardless of what it's called, that's what the 4th Estate has become. Jefferson sensed the potential danger, but he couldn't imagine that the press could be corrupted as well. I bet Franklin imagined it, but he was a manipulative fucker by nature.

Even though we've never witnessed an assault on the Constitution like we have in the past 8 years....while the MSM has sat silently on their hands.....I still have faith in the 4th Estate. I was being sarcastic (imagine that) on my post about Moyers. I really do have faith in the 4th Estate...if I didn't, I'd leave the country. Wait a minute....I did leave the country.


Clay said...

I think you'll like this:

Science geek wants to knock of an ignorant, "intelligent design" incumbent. Thanks to the internet, he has a chance.

Anonymous said...

I don’t know if I can disagree with the post, but certainly positioning yourself (or other blogs) as the bastion of truth I find dubious. It seems to me that the power of the press was built on the trust between the reporter and the public – that for a reporter to lie or extend the truth in a story is to guarantee himself (or herself) a huge credibility hole that they may not be able to recover from. I don’t see that in New Media, and actually see a corrupting of that in Old Media. Readership has taken over as a benchmark for truthfulness. On the web, where eyeballs have always been the metric, I doubt that there is any vetting of sources, or material – which isn’t a problem when posts are opinions, but is a big problem when they are presented as facts. New Media is therefore not characterized by simply being electronic, or instantaneous, or fluid – it is characterized by being opinion, not researched and off-the-cuff. Frankly I think there will be dead cat bounce in main stream media a few years from now, as people realize that the web edition of the news they are getting is seriously falwed, right before people realize they don’t care and just want to be entertained. That will be the death knell for MSM. Next time you read an article look at the difference in tone between the first three paragraphs and the last three paragraphs, or better yet, next time you see a catchy headline, read the end of the article first and then the beginning – I bet you will perceive the story differently – and that is a problem.

The true challenges for New Media lie in the ability present truthful and balanced (not like Fox) stories and separate from the other junk that’s out there. Because of capital costs, the common person has been barred from starting newspapers, T.V. stations, and radio stations – every form of mass media has barriers to entry largely based on capital costs. I would say that this is a bad thing, but have you ever read letters to the editor, watched Jerry Springer or listened to call-in radio shows? The average American should be barred from voicing their opinions for fear that someone may actually be listening (I am joking, of course)…but anyone can start a web-site, and based on some of the things out there it looks like everyone has…

New Media will be as corruptable as Old Media, maybe even more so, unless there are true stewards of the medium that emerge as viable watchdogs for truth. News should be about the facts, and not who tells a better story. Of course, I doubt that it ever has.

Anonymous said...

Faux pas? I don't think it's ever a faux pas to quote the Fountaineer.

Citizens self-publishing online won't actually replace the MSM, although there will always be some flow of the best from self-publication to professional publication, but they (we) provide a conduit through which the truth can be exposed (and exposed and exposed and exposed). Once the truth is undeniably visible, the MSM is more likely to pick up the story and run with it. It doesn't always work, and sometimes I'm flabbergasted at what they'll just ignore, but it's a start.

This is a great post. "The system they set up is self-correcting..." is right.

Jason Brad Berry said...


Hmmmm....I wonder what industry you're in...

- I don’t know if I can disagree with the post, but certainly positioning yourself (or other blogs) as the bastion of truth I find dubious.

I'm not suggesting that and and I never said that. My reference was not that any blog is the bastion of truth....I was refering to the aggregate wealth of individuals and internet media resources who are using the internet to speak truth. There is no one media source which is the end all be all of journalism be it NYT, The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, whatever....nor is there one online media resource which can be completely relied upon for accuracy. BUT....Corporate interests have shaped, censored, and skewed every source of MSM journalism in this country to the point that the basic bond of trust between the people and the press has been broken. How do you combat the Newspeak of FOX? I'll tell you how...with truth...and the internet has provided truthseekers with an incredibly powerful tool to do just that. Yes Fox may have higher ratings than NPR but the Drudge Report, Daily Kos, Crooks and Liars, The Huffington Post, etc. are kicking FOX's ass online in terms of overhead and return...why? Because intelligent people know bullshit when they see it and they have the willpower to seek out alternative sources of information. People know that much of the MSM journalism is either 1. Not journalism at all but pure propaganda or 2. noticeably silent in it's coverage of very important information. The internet has stepped in to fil that void.

Of course blogs and internet media are not a panacea to this problem, but I shutter to think how ignorant this country would be without them....I can't even remember what it was like before the internet. Think about how different the perception of W. and Iraq would be right now without the internet.

Yes much of internet media is bullshit, but much of it is powerful and pertinent...and beyond the reach of corporate/government interests. You will never see a corporate sponsor on my blog and never will. I once accepted donations and made about 40 bucks a month for 3 months, then my paypal account became corrupted and i just took it down....point being, I don't make money off this, I do it because I was aware of a lack of transparency in local government, and at the time I started the blog, I felt our local media resources were doing very little to remedy that. Since this local blogging community began turning up the heat on our public officials, I think many of our local media resources have responded in tandem and found their legs again. But I have also seen much blatant censorship and advocacy for corporate interests (i.e. The Picayune's protection of Entergy. The Gambit is the only media outlet that raises a critical voice against them).

Look at Lee Zurik at WWL, look at Garland Robinette, look at Gordon Russell, look at Clancy DuBos....all journalists who have been turning up the heat since the storm....I'm not saying that they were all inspired by the internet or blogs or that blogs deserve the credit of their talent, but I bet if you asked any of them if blogs have made an influence on their journalistic pursuits they would say yes. And if you are one of those people, ask yourself.

- New Media is therefore not characterized by simply being electronic, or instantaneous, or fluid – it is characterized by being opinion, not researched and off-the-cuff.

That's simply not true, holisticly. That statement is an egregious generalization which I hear mostly coming from people in the media industry who feel threatened by blogs and internet media. I can tell you that I have done painstaking research, myself, in many of the items I have written about on this blog. Does that make me a "bona fide journalist"? No. But I truly believe my blog and many others in this local realm have had a significant impact on our city and it's policies or lack thereof. I take great pride in that and feel lucky to be a part of New Orleans' blogosphere. A statement like that is similar to someone saying "All the newspapers are lies."

Only a Sith speaks in absolutes.

- The average American should be barred from voicing their opinions for fear that someone may actually be listening (I am joking, of course)…but anyone can start a web-site, and based on some of the things out there it looks like everyone has…

and is that a bad thing? With the advent of the internet, everyone now has the ability to voice their thoughts and opinions, regardless of their abilities or talents to do is that counterproductive to democracy? Yes there will be a lot of crap produced in that process, but quality always rises and when talented voices withouth corporate interests are allowed to reach the masses...this is the true evolution of the 4th Estate. I may be interpreting this wrong, but it seems you're suggesting that the monetary barrier to entry of traditional media is an effective means of quality argument to that would be to look at the most financially succesful MSM outlet,FOX, and then assess that logic.