Marlowe's Shade

Monday, January 03, 2005

Hewitt on the War Against the Media Elite

Hugh Hewitt says we are winning

If Old Media--the "legacy media" of the big papers and old networks plus the newsweeklies--was a city and not simply a set of gasping institutions, it would look like Stalingrad circa 1944. Parts of most of the virtual buildings are still standing, but the devastation is pretty complete.

I love the upbeat tone, but I think the old dragon still has plenty of fight left.

He goes on to give a great synopsis of the evolution of our Mainstream Media:

For many generations, Big Media represented the interests of the dominant political and business elites. Men like Henry Luce and William Paley represented that tradition.

Some of those interests were repugnant, especially those behind segregation. With the arrival of the civil rights movement, journalism slowly began to reform itself and to work overtime to represent underrepresented political and social points of view. There developed a great tolerance for viewpoints and perspectives from ideological minorities, and a great hunger to represent those views not only in the media product but also in the media workforces. First opposition to the Vietnam war and then the hunting of Richard Nixon accelerated this trend, so that old media quickly evolved into a fortress of "oppositional" reporting and personnel.

The new recruits to big journalism and their mentors did not work overtime to assure that, in the elevation of tolerance of ideological minorities, there would remain representation of majoritarian points of view. In fact, majoritarian points of view became suspect, and the focus of pervasive hostile reporting and analysis. Crusading journalists seemed to be an ideological pack. By the time the new millennium arrived, legacy media was populated at its elite levels by as homogeneous a group of reporters / producers / commentators as could ever have been assembled from the newsrooms of the old Hearst operation. Big Media had hired itself into a rut--a self-replicating echo chamber of left and further-left scribblers and talkers and self-reinforcing head nodders who were overwhelmingly anti-Republican, anti-Christian, anti-military, anti-wealth, anti-business, and even anti-middle class. These new journalists had no tolerance for majoritarian points of view, and the gap between the producers of the news and the consumers of the news widened until the credibility gap between the two made Lyndon Johnson's look modest by comparison.

Fortunately a little more than half of the country was not so easy to indoctrinate.

Meanwhile, the majority of consumers grew tired of the exclusion of its views from the media. When Rush Limbaugh arrived, he prospered because at last there was a voice reflecting majoritarian points of view. The same welcome greeted Fox News and the blogs of the center-right.

The familiar old point on this blog of increasing conservative demographics seems to support Hugh's sunny outlook, but I think that there are a couple of other dangerous trends that I've broached before. One is that the rest of the world is moving in another direction, and this tension cannot increase forever in a global economy. The other which was discussed in this post from earlier today is that technology is making the media more powerful while there are no real checks in place to its influence.

Blogs work fairly well in a free society to keep the MSM accountable, but time will time if they will make a difference in places like Iran or China. Or even Europe.

papijoe 2:56 PM