Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Journalism's Fulfillment and its Future

It is facile and fruitless to view the media's coverage of the 2008/2009 Obamanation as a failure of journalism. A profession doesn't fail in the manner of a bridge failing.

I prefer to think of The Anointed Won as occasioning The Fulfillment of American Journalism.

What did American Journalism think it was doing in 2008/2009? What was it thinking from 9/11/2001 onward? What sent that thrill up Chris Matthew's leg?

  • crass amateurism, ignorance and provincialism
  • self-importance
  • ideological adherence to predetermined narrative rather than fact
  • prophesies of left-leaning educations
  • ease, simplicity and laziness
  • panic - not knowing what to do, so they follow the pack
  • supporting the presumed interests of advertisers
The method of modern journalism is: Simplify . . .then exaggerate! Anything that happens in the world - and all of the above factors - are reported through the filter of Simplify . . .then exaggerate!

The above list contains nothing new. Obama - The Anointed Won - represents the fulfillment of modern American journalism. With Obama the failures of a generation of journalists have become ineluctable. Moreover, the internet and radio have eroded the monopoly of American print and network journalism. The profession of journalism will not have the ability or the opportunity to redeem itself.

What has happened to Post-Obamessianic journalism?
  • Factory Journalism - There has been immense growth in government and corporate media relations, i.e. force-feeding the paid news media. The Obama White House spends $500,000/week creating and focusing the news for the paid news media. Just like Perdue chickens, we now have Perdue journalism.
  • Corruption of journalists "switching sides," to government and corporate media relations.
  • The Obama Administration has tried to focus recipients of arts and other federal programs to support administration objectives. The is a peacetime first in the United States.
  • Accelerating loss of relevance and credibility by print and broadcast journalism.
What comes next?
  • The Won will try to keep winning - attempting to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine or use other means to maintain power and deny communications to "the enemy." There's a strange bill proposed to giving Obama power to close down the internet in a national emergency; surely, that will go nowhere.
  • Journalism may attempt to clean up its act, to protect its own interests - power, advertising, income.
  • Information fractionating - different groups getting their information from different sources and, very nearly, living in parallel universes. The Van Jones confrontation is an early example. This is the old Fox News controversy, now writ much larger.
So what?
  • Newspaper and print journalism will not recover their social and political dominance, no matter how professional or extraordinary they become. Internet and radio will continue to gain dominance.
  • Journalists, publishers and networks will do what they can to protect their empires and incomes. They cannot do much to retain audience and market-share, except to become more crass and outrageous.
  • Crass and outrageous is the only road left to government and corporate media to attempt to control internet and radio. The electorate on all sides - but especially the right - must be vigilant against attempt to limit news media.

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