Thursday, December 03, 2009

What do these two things have to do with each other?

Kate from SMD (referring to Canadian media, although the exact same picture is seen in the US):

For perhaps the first time in the history of mass media, the gatekeepers broke a major scandal to an audience fully 10 days ahead of them.

It's a spin doctor's worst nightmare.

As I've been saying from the beginning, they're hearing the sound of all hell breaking loose. And as much as it's being directed at the research institutions and the policy makers following along like so many imprinted penguins, the bulk of public rage has focused on the media.

I don't think my friends in traditional news gathering truly appreciate what it is they've done. I don't believe they fully comprehend how gravely they have injured themselves, and how they're driving home the razor into an industry already struggling for survival with abbreviated, dismissive, misleading reports and "denier" and "conspiracy nut" slurs.

The bloggers tried to warn them. The opinion columnists tried to warn them, the talk hosts tried to warn them. Their readers, viewers and listeners tried to warn them.

The news media perfected the business of bombshells. They wind them up, drop them, film the explosion, and move on.

And this from Reuters:

A top Democratic lawmaker predicted on Wednesday that the government will be involved in shaping the future for struggling U.S. media organizations.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, saying quality journalism was essential to U.S. democracy, said eventually government would have to help resolve the problems caused by a failing business model.

Waxman, other U.S. lawmakers and regulators are looking into various options to help a newspaper industry hurt by the shift in advertising revenues to online platforms.

Tweaks to the tax code to allow newspapers to spread losses over a greater number of years, providing a nonprofit structure to allow for public and foundation funding, and changes to antitrust laws are being considered by lawmakers and policymakers.

Adds Jeff:

Which means that, followed to its logical conclusion, we can readily envision in the proposed paradigm shift from news as commodity to news as public service, a scenario in which the federal government gets to determine which media outlets are really “news” outlets to begin with, and so which outlets get included in regulatory relief — in effect, determining how to use the government to overcome the market in order to give a leg up to those messengers the market has rejected, while simultaneously punishing those messengers the market (and so the consumer) has chosen.

But hey, how could such an investment into who gets to determine what is news and what is “hate speech” or “faux journalism” possibly pressure the tenor of the message? Right? Right?

The media doesn't seem to realize that folks are rejecting the commodity they're offering. Do. Not. Want. I can't even read the paper on a Sunday morning around my kids, because it is guaranteed at some point I'm going to throw it on the floor with an outpouring of profanity.

The idea that the government needs to come to the aid of a "failing business model" make my head 'splode.