Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Minstrels and Jesters of Media 2005

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I was watching "60 Minutes II", for no better reason than boredom, and I noticed they were going after Enron again. Ken Lay was the supposed focus, but as I watched, I noticed the show had little interest in the real facts of the case, but were essentially just retelling a story the Liberal network finds comforting; a myth of a world where businessmen are always greedy and only the Old Media reporters shine as knight defenders of the Truth. The usual fare from CBS these days. I noticed during the show as well, that the show presented supposition as fact, and speculation in place of evidence. Fine, as long as you are not fooled into thinking you're getting real information.

That's where the Old Media is these days; unable to defend its positions as real news, many programs simply abandon the pretense and tell whatever stories they would like to believe. When I recall the firestorms of protest when the Tiffany Network tried to slander Ronald Reagan, and again when Dan Rather's attempt to manipulate the Presidential Election with papers he knew (or should have known) were forgeries, I sense the dismay which must have filled the boardroom in New York, as they realized that even their favorite targets were to be denied them.

The New Media is enjoying a growth surge, as blogs and websites of many flavors enjoy the rush of both new creative inspiration and the cusp of trend and fashion. But there is a social order there as well; many of the leading blogs were designed and managed by established names from the Old Media, and many of the most successful blogs focused not so much on information or scholarly analysis, but on various measures of entertainment. A glance at the leading blogs reveal the following breakdown; of the Top 20 blogs by traffic, 8 are Political Commentary, 4 are Gossip, 3 are pure Rants, 2 are News Review, and one each are Parodies, Variety, and about Gadgets. That is, they each have developed a core audience and a style which the readers find entertaining.

Story-telling is not dead, and the bards have simply changed instruments.

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