Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

-C.S. Lewis

Saturday, March 25, 2006

We Are The Media

This started as a comment on a post at Suburban Guerrilla, but ended up as here on SOTU as a full-fledged blog post. Aren't you lucky.

Below is a quote from said post at SG.

This is one of the things that infuriates me about the media and, like Duncan, I just don’t get it. Clearly, there’s something about the emphasis on credentialism that’s attracting journalists who are constitutionally incapable of questioning the status quo.

But of course, media ownership is concentrated in a handful of corporate interests who are more interested in making money than they are in saving democracy.
While I agree that the media is composed primarily of snivelling sycophants, yearning for the opportunity to place their lips firmly on the ass of power, I think it is largely a waste of time to wonder why they don't cover the important issues of the day. The answer is quite simple, and one which Susie hit on herself in her post: money.

Corporate media has one job. Reporting the news? Try again. Uncovering the truth? You've got to be kidding me. The one task that corporate media is interested in achieving is turning a profit. Period. There's no either/or here. No publisher sits in his office weighing whether she wants to a) save democracy and in the process disappoint stockholders because everyone flipped over to FOX or b) say to hell with the country let's run another story where we can show topless, fuzzed-out ladies getting mammograms. Whatever stories get the high ratings are the stories they go with. If a detailed report about the dangers of the unitary executive will cause people to flip the channel, it ain't gettin run. If a week-long series on Natalee Holloway makes the papers fly off the shelves, look for part 2 next quarter.

I feel the only things that we can do are a) try to put them out of business by not watching/reading/listening etc. and b) reporting the truth ourselves. The press is whoever has a press. In the Internet age, we all have a press. We are the media. We should not expect anything from The Media, we should expect things from ourselves. The Media, in terms of something that exists outside the sphere of influence of the common citizen, is dying. We are returning to the age of the pamphleteer, when passionate individuals like Thomas Paine invigorated a nation. We should realize the tremendous, increasing power we have to influence what topics are discussed.

"The Media" (if that label even means anything these days) will NEVER be a public service. The company balance sheet will inform them what "their job" is, not national interest. Let's not waste our valuable energy wondering why our favorite newspapers don't print stories about things that matter or why the same familiar reporters keep asking the same softball questions. Just like we don't waste our time wondering why Exxon funds anti-global-warming research. Just like we don't waste our time wondering why insurance companies lobby against national healthcare.

The press is not something that is out there, but something that is "in here" **pounds chest**. Expecting/hoping/becoming infuriated that the certain outlets that we deem "the press" or "the media" or whatever don't take the health of our nation seriously enough only serves to empower those outlets and enfeeble our own efforts. If a question needs asking, we need to be the ones to ask it. We need to get our own reporters in that press room. We need to work to erase the "unserious" stigma that unfairly plagues bloggers. The more we infiltrate the press conferences, the more the truth will be out. This can be done and it must be done. But it must be done BY US. Wishing that someone else would do it for us is as good as giving up.

This blog is based on a true story.