Flick Harrison on Wed, 8 Apr 2009 05:38:08 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Google dubbed internet parasite by WSJ editor


People have been paying for journalism all along.  They once threw coins 
to the bards, which was more direct, but nowadays, they buy the products 
advertised in the newspaper, and those advertisers pay the writers.  The 
publisher was a middleman taking cash out of the equation.

The problem is that now, more middlemen stand in the way of the buyer 
and the producer.  The aggregators bring readers to the news, but they 
suck out a bit of the ad revenue.  They do contribute to the value by 
picking stories that are interesting to the reader from an unreadable 
mass of information - though perez hilton's value is different than 
huffpo's value.

There is definitely something scary about a world where no full-time 
professional newsrooms exist.  I don't like corporate oligarchy news 
(i.e. the MSM, which the right, however, considers commie pinko news) 
but at least there's a check on outright corruption and the oligarchic 
feuds can be fought out fairly - without civil wars and coups.  If daily 
news disappears - don't imagine home made indymedia can fill that void 
this decade - we're screwed.  Something like Znet might have the reach 
and scope to take up some of the slack, but good god, not all of it.  
Public broadcasting, in Canada at least, is increasingly under threat as 
a waste of money as private news collapses; the right-wing noisosphere 
makes a convincing, if spurious, case that public broadcasting is to 
blame for the private sector's woes, and in the million-channel, 
billion-blog universe, public broadcasting is playing to an increasingly 
empty house.  That means fewer champions in the Assembly fighting for it.

I take Chomsky's analysis of the media's bias as gospel.  But I can't 
see what we'll gain by letting the MSM go out of business without a plan 
to replace it.  If it collapses because of some other corporate force - 
i.e. google, the cable ISP's, ebay and craigslist - snatching its 
market, there's every reason to anticipate something worse will take its 
place.  My money says 'nothing' is most likely to succeed; followed 
closely by the type of "citizen journalism" represented by Rush 
Limbaugh's internet echo chamber; or in the best case, some kind of 
hyper-partisan, fragmented poly-polity in constant civil conflict and 
with ever-widening gaps in what's accepted as truth.

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