Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Decline in Journalism; The Rise of the Blogger

Partial transcript from Morning Joe on MSNBC:
Pat Buchanan: Is the old media that we all grew up with, is that really passing away and this new media the kids got, with the internet and the rest of it, is that the future? ...

Brian Williams: ... when people hear me lament the passing of that media, they think, oh, that's just your own self interest. And it's not. It's Jefferon's kind of educated and enlightened democracy. ... And if you're going to tell me it's, it's someone with a web site, well, have you been, as a friend of mine says, classically trained? Do you know to make your calls and get your two-to-three sources? ...
Old media is being replaced by bloggers.

The reason is pretty simple, I think: old media has become lazy. Their jobs are easily taken over by armchair amateurs. I created this blog largely because I, using only the power of Google, can come up with better in-depth articles than the New York Times. Obviously I don't do this very often but then, I'm not getting paid. But there's an army of people like me, so between the lot of us, readers don't really need the New York Times anymore. Do I make my calls and get my two-to-three sources? Do you, Mr. Williams? Did the New York Times make their calls when they published a fake letter from the mayor of Paris?

I used to have a lot of respect for reporters -- specifically for investigative reporting. I confess, I'm kind of lazy. If I had to go down to the library of Congress to research stuff, I wouldn't do it. But when I can prove an Associated Press article to be wrong, biased or simply incomplete using only the power of Google and a couple links to the census data, something is wrong with classical media.

What's wrong is that they're just as lazy as I am, except they're getting paid to be lazy. They aren't checking their sources. They aren't delivering unbiased reports. They aren't digging down except when it suits their personal political views. Why did we hear so much about Palin and so little about Biden? Why are negative stories about Iraq put on page 1 and positive stories put on page 11 or not printed at all? Why do I have to go to the blogs of private journalists (classically trained or otherwise) in order to get the full story?

Mainstream media has allowed bias and laziness to overthrow investigative reporting and hard work.

It should be no surprise to Brian Williams that we are turning away from people like him and turning towards private sources and bloggers for news. I can glean more truth from a handful of bloggers (some from both sides of the story) than I can from any single mainstream media source.

Journalism as a profession can easily come back, but now they have to compete. Now they have to WORK. You guys at the New York Times and MSNBC want to still have a job ten years from now? Get to work. Start investigating. Put more effort into your story than the average blogger and maybe we'll come back. Keep being lazy and biased and you'll be replaced by bloggers because you aren't doing anything we can't do.

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