You Gotta Love Kathleen Parker. . .

15 03 2009

Frayed Thread in a Free Society:

BOSTON — The biggest challenge facing America’s struggling newspaper industry may not be the high cost of newsprint or lost ad revenue, but ignorance stoked by drive-by punditry. . .

Constant criticism of the “elite media” is comical to most reporters, whose paychecks wouldn’t cover Limbaugh’s annual dry cleaning bill. The truly elite media are the people most Americans have never heard of — the daily-grind reporters who turn out for city council and school board meetings. Or the investigative teams who chase leads for months to expose abuse or corruption.

These are the champions of the industry, not the food-fighters on TV or the grenade throwers on radio. Or the bloggers (with a few exceptions), who may be excellent critics and fact-checkers, but who rely on newspapers to provide their material. . .

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3 responses

16 03 2009
JJ

“Ignorance stoked by drive-by punditry” would fit on a t-shirt, at least one in MY size. . . 😀

16 03 2009
JJ

I just bought the new Steven Johnson book, The Invention of Air, about the well-integrated science and religion of founding father-contemporary Joseph Priestley. Haven’t started it yet. Here’s a column from Johnson about news and entertainment media changing:

The metaphors we use to think about changes in media have a lot to tell us about the particular moment we’re in. McLuhan talked about media as an extension of our central nervous system, and we spent forty years trying to figure out how media was re-wiring our brains. The metaphor you hear now is different, more E.O. Wilson [Consilience] than McLuhan: the ecosystem.

I happen to think that this is a useful way of thinking about what’s happening to us now: today’s media is in fact much closer to a real-world ecosystem in the way it circulates information than it is like the old industrial, top-down models of mass media.

It’s a much more diverse and interconnected world, a system of flows and feeds — completely different from an assembly line. That complexity is what makes it so interesting, of course, but also what makes it so hard to predict what it’s going to look like …But in times like these, when all that is solid is melting into air, as Marx said of another equally turbulent era, it’s important that we try to imagine how we’d like the future to turn out and set our sights on that, and not just struggle to keep the past alive for a few more years.
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16 03 2009
JJ

Interesting to hear Johnson say this: “Think about the Philadelphia race speech, arguably one of the two or three most important events in the whole campaign.”

It really WAS the most important event of the whole campaign for me. It made the difference, reached into my mind directly and changed it as I heard it live. Wow, was that really a whole year ago?

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