Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Is the "Media" still relevant?

This is a question I am having a hard time answering.

More and more it seems we (the audience) aren't getting news, we're getting cycles of sound bites recycled, and recycled and recycled until something new comes along.

Nevermind the fact that we are in two wars, the government of Mexico is getting overrun by drug lords, and there is a huge world of news out there that the American media simply doesn't cover. Correspondents seem perfectly happy twittering at a safe desk in a safe office somewhere and copy-and-pasting from the AP wire.

Case in point: Flight 1549.

Don't get me wrong.

I think it's great that the plane landed safely and no one died and the pilots and crew (and all of the rescuers involved) should have been given some air time.

But a whole week?

Those folks couldn't wipe their heinies without the media discussing it.

Now the latest crush is on Rush.

Soon, it will be Sebelius.

Over it all is bi-partisan "analysis".


I think Americans are talking to each other, online.

And that scares the hell out of the big media corporations (six of whom control 90 % of the global media market--including all magazines, news outlets, movies, music, books, etc.).

You may need to let that sink in for a moment.

Six companies (or seven depending on who you believe) that control 90% of what people all over the world read, listen to, and watch.

In my opinion we're starting to dialogue without the intermediary-media pitting us against each other.

Frankly, I think it's about effing time.

PS; Thanks to those who left test comments. They came through so apparently the html god got over it's tiff with me. Comments are again open. Yay!


True Blue Texan March 3, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

I happened to be delivering papers in Austin when Baby Jessica (poor kid) was in the well in Midland in 1987. Now this was serious stuff to all involved but I was absolutely amazed at the media coverage. Live TV and a headline in the Austin paper that literally took up all the space above the fold. That type of melodramatic headline is generally reserved for, oh the end of wars or landing on the moon. Not for the rescue of a toddler from a well. As someone with a degree in Journalism, I can tell you that the media in this country gave up all its hard earned respect for ratings. Coverage like this or Flight 1549 is now, sadly, typical. Relevant news is only relevant if its dramatic. I could go on but you get the idea.

The Internet is the new paradigm. The MSM just needs to realize the hand writing's on the wall. The only real drawback is that, currently, the Internet is a free for all. We've had our news spoon fed to us for so long that we don't know how to discern the truth from the bullshit. It will be a steep learning curve.

Aliceson March 3, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

The media is becoming less relevant indeed. I have stopped watching most network news. I now get most of my news online. That way I can fact check while reading. My problem with Network TV news... I hate the inaccuracies.

That's great that your blog is fixed! I'd swear it was a full moon... weird blog related hiccups lately.

skyewriter March 3, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

I think the notion of the "truth" is shifting and in fact the reliability of sources, too, like you mention Aliceson.

I wonder if that is what has people freaked out?

I mean, I think it's great that we get multiple perspectives online, but like you said, True Blue, discerning credible sources from biased ones is challenging.

As a writing teacher I find it immensely exciting because I think a greater focus is placed on critical thinking skills considering the new paradigm.

Also, it opens up a completely new set of rules for engaging others in "conversation". If my experience last week taught me anything, it's that a lot of people cannot carry on a rational dialogue without attacking the person, not the argument.

People might get more practice letting logos rule over pathos, as we learn to create meaning online together.

Seeing Eye Chick March 3, 2009 at 5:25 PM  

Yes, Americans are sorely lacking in healthy debate skills.

Its difficult to get anything done in that situation. Because if the group cannot stay focused on the objective, but instead goes running off after every red herring that bares it's fin, well,
it will be a long night.
A long recovery

And one big fat bare nerve.

I believe this is the fundamental disconnect between academics and laypeople. Academics can usually {usually} stop emoting and discuss things coldly {its the accusation of the ivory tower to be sure} and it makes lay people feel that Academics are completely disengaged from the real-world aspects of that issue--whatever it may be.

From there the conversation degenerates quickly into a WWF No Holds Barred, hit your neighbor over the head with a chair fight.


skyewriter March 3, 2009 at 5:35 PM  

Again, my optimism is showing a bit I guess.

I think this opening of access to meaning making might actually raise everyone's ability to feel part in the creation of "knowledge".

Consensus is how things get chosen to be "canonized"; I like that this process (altho' still in its early stages) has the potential to change how that happens, if it happens at all.

Decentering who controls "truth" means more people (hopefully) will have more social access in creating "knowledge" and perhaps bring the personal more fully into the range of meaning we all see as credible.

catherinemacivor.com March 3, 2009 at 6:12 PM  

Great post. Cable news has been the downfall of investigative journalism. I can't stand the spin cycle, but if you give me a well written, well thought out piece of investigative journalism, I am thrilled. Fascinating stuff usually. I'm not sure there is a replacement for that online. It may be lost forever.

But I can't stand the way the MSM covers certain stories. i agree with you about the flight that crash landed. How many times and in how many different ways to we have to watch them get out on the wings?

I also think it's crazy that every time an elderly senile person is caught in a dirty house with 300 cats, "House of Filth" is the headline for news at 11! We are in two wars and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and they want to headline a house of filth?

willpen March 3, 2009 at 8:32 PM  

24/7 News cycle is both a curse and a blessing. It is a blessing when used to it's fullest and best extent, and it is a curse when the real news is forsaken for ratings.

TV news needs to get back to the basics. Just the where, what, when, why and how of things.

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