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[personal profile] flewellyn
So, the Atlantic Monthly and National Journal, bastions of traditional media, conducted a survey of prominent members of the news media whether they thought the internet was helping or hurting journalism.

Three guesses which one they said. The first two don't count.

That's right: Media Insiders Say Internet Hurts Journalism was the Atlantic's headline.

Color me shocked.

I found this story on Shakesville, in a story Melissa McEwan had titled "Maybe You Should Try Not Sucking". Other suggested headlines from the comment thread: "Media Insiders Admit to Cluelessness About How to Make Money on the Internet", "Media Insiders Resent Being Caught And Called Out On Their Pathetic, Lazy, Biased Screed Masquerading As News. Details at 11.", and my own, "Media Insiders Hate Competition, Being Shown Up For Falling Down On Job".

To be fair, they are right in one sense: the internet IS hurting journalism, if you define "journalism" the way they do, namely "pronouncements of our opinions as The Truth From On High".

The internet has done a huge number on their monopoly on public discourse, and they're really mad about that. They're important people, dammit! They know this is true because they say so!

Put more generally, they've defined journalism as "what it is that we do, as Important Journalists". Since they have, over the past thirty years, stopped doing actual journalism (in the dictionary sense) and taken on the role of blathering opinion-spouters who speak in soundbites and often don't bother actually researching, that, in their mind, is journalism.

So when people on the internet start actually doing research, and presenting nuanced and detailed views of the world, it feels like an attack on their world of "journalism", and they react with hostility. Because, hey, if just any person can present opinions and soundbites, and amateurs on the internet can present real journalism better than they can, then that might mean that they really aren't as Important and Vital as they insist they are! Why, then the common people might start doing journalism, and we can't have that!

Date: 2009-04-11 12:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hypatiasghost.livejournal.com
I have really been meaning to pick up Farhad Manjoo's "True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post Fact Society." We read the first two chapters in Science and Society last year, and I thought that his take on all this was pretty interesting.

"We used to all be guests at Walter Cronkite's dinner table. But now the dinner guests have rioted, schismed, and formed insular groups talking loudly at each other about the things they think are important, and no one hears anything they don't already want to hear." Certainly it was bad to just be listening to whatever Cronkite told you, but is this better? How do we tell the difference between good information and bad information when we know that we automatically discount anything that seems like it supports "The Other Side"?

It's not that the death of traditional journalism has caused this problem -- quite the opposite, I think things are better now that we are moderately independent in finding our news sources. But this is a problem that'll have to be addressed in the coming years if we're going to get ANYTHING done.

Which eventually leads back to my "Why i want to be a science teacher" rant.
Edited Date: 2009-04-11 12:39 am (UTC)

Date: 2009-04-11 12:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
The Reichwing have elevated the idea of opinions as all being equally valid and true, taking a liberal idea (that all opinions are worth considering) and twisting it to become something pernicious (there's no truth but what the people in power define). And the media have gone along with it, because they're lazy.

Date: 2009-04-11 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hypatiasghost.livejournal.com
See? You're doing it. "Reichwing." Indeed.

Though, in Manjoo's book, he points out that people who identify as Conservative are *more* prone to the "reality splitting" effect. They're more likely than people who identify as Liberal to not be able to listen to ideas that don't seem to agree with what they already believe.

Date: 2009-04-11 01:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flewellyn.livejournal.com
Recognizing the radical right-wing in this country for what it is, based on factual observations of the world, is not "doing it".

I'm willing to listen to ideas that don't agree with what I believe. The problem is, by now I've heard most of the ideas that the right-wing has in this country, and I've already evaluated them to mostly suck.

Date: 2009-04-11 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lucretiasheart.livejournal.com
LOVE the quote from Fight Club as the title!

And-- of course the central powers resent being upstaged by the plebes! Quelle suprise indeed.
Edited Date: 2009-04-11 02:32 am (UTC)


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