The Mainstream Media is dead, it committed suicide. It did not do it on purpose, it was entirely accidental. But it most assuredly did commit suicide. The Mainstream Media would love nothing more than for you to believe that it is still alive, well, healthy and in control of your life, but that simply is not the case. It is at this very moment in time, the walking dead.
Yes, I can tell you both how and why it committed suicide. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what happened or why. When I worked in the Aerospace industry building exotic spacecraft and communications satellites we used to have a inside tongue in cheek joke about the processes we used to build spacecraft and satellites, we used to joke that, hey, it’s not that damned complicated, it’s not rocket science. The punchline of course, was that, yes, it actually was rocket science. It was just, that we did what we did every day of the week all year long. Ever hear the old adage, familiarity breeds contempt?
Well,the truth is, as in my case, you don’t actually have to be a rocket scientist to build a rocket, or spacecraft or satellite. You just have to know how to do part of the assembly process. Again in my case, it was how to do carbon-fiber lay-up and how to use various machines. Well, the same principal applies here. I don’t have to have an advanced degree in journalism or business administration to know how and why the Mainstream Media committed suicide to know how and why the Mainstream Media committed suicide.
The how and why as I said is really rather simple. Once upon a time, in a world not all that long ago or far away their was only one way to get news or information on what was going on in the world outside of your immediate vision. That was to turn to the Mainstream Media, whether it be newspapers, magazines, radio or television. That was how you learned what was going on outside of your immediate community.
Starting with Gutenberg and his movable type press those who compiled the news or information became the gatekeepers of information. They became by virtue of the medium they controlled, the lords of information. They made the decisions as to what information, what news, what ideas, were propagated amongst the masses. Because they made those decisions they became incredibly powerful, they shaped public opinion by controlling what people knew.
Just as familiarity breeds contempt, so power breed corruption. The greater the power, the greater the corruption. This is how the Mainstream Media committed suicide, their power led to corruption, it led to arrogance and it led to narcissism. Most importantly it led to them falling victim to the false belief that their source of power and authority was unassailable. As they grew in they grew in their arrogance and narcissism they began to believe that the power and authority they wielded was theirs by what amounted to divine right, not divine right ass in conferred by God, but as conferred by their superior intelligence and educations.
Their role as gatekeeper became their license to dictate what the average person knew or learned. They ceased to inform and began to indoctrinate, engaging in the propagation of ideological propaganda rather than the dissemination of information. Which is not to suggest that the Mainstream Media ever existed as a genuinely unbiased source of information, because it did not. The difference is that for hundreds of years those who engaged in the mass exchange of and dissemination of information did so without making any attempt to conceal their true ideological biases. They made their biases know up front and in a openly competitive market place.
Back in the early 1920′s Marxist began it’s infiltration of the American Mainstream Media. It was a slow methodical infiltration that began in academia, that influenced America’s various schools of journalism and brought with it the idea that it was the journalist’s obligation to not simple inform the general public, but to actively shape public opinion through the inclusion or exclusion of ideological based opinion and the manipulation of factual information. There are two types of lies, one is the outright lie where you knowingly and willingly present false information, the other is through omission where you knowingly and willingly omit factual information.
Well, things were going along just wonderfully for the Mainstream Media until a little noticed or understood event took place in 1874. German scientist Karl Ferdinand Braun discovered the “unilateral conduction” of crystals. With Braun’s invention of the “rectifier” which would later go on to be renamed the diode the information age was born. From the diode eventually came the very invention allowing you to read this article, the internet.
In the previous paragraphs I have described why the Mainstream Media committed suicide, now we get to the how. Braun’s invention of the diode led directly to things like the telegraph and radio communications, radio and telegraph produced something known as the teletype. The Mainstream Media grasped the importance and significance of the telegraph, teletype, radio and television nearly at once. Those things provided them an unparalleled ability to bring information from around the world to a centralized location with near real time speed for the dissemination to a public that was hungry for information.
And, just as the publishing industry had for hundreds of years prior, it continued to present them with a one way platform where they were the gatekeepers of information. They published and the general public at large had little to no avenue to dispute or question the veracity or concealed bias placed either through overt intent, or via intentional omission. As an example, New York times “Journalist” Walter Duranty,who reported on the Soviet Union between 1922 and 1932 won the highly coveted Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his “so called” reporting. Duranty who it later was proven was a Marxist fellow traveler, or sympathizer if you will, wrote articles praising Joesph Stalin and the Soviet Marxist government, while knowingly, willfully and intentionally omitting how ruthlessly and brutally the Soviet government under Stalin treated it’s citizen. Duranty intentionally deceived by omission the American people about the fact that Joesph Stalin murdered somewhere between 30 and 50 million Soviet citizen in his quest to make the Soviet Union the world most powerful superpower.
Those who, in 1932 knew that Walter Duranty was intentionally deceiving the world were locked out of the conversation by the simple virtue of the fact that, the Mainstream Media was a one way street. The Mainstream Media presented their side on any story and that was it. What the editors decided to publish was what got published. There was no significant dialog between the general public and the gatekeepers. American writer Mark Twain once sardonically quipped, “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel”. It was both a stern warning and at the time an indisputable fact of life. From the 1700′s up until the end of the 20th century the men who bought their ink by the barrel were the bane and torment of King’s, Dictators and Presidents. Benjamin Franklin was a thorn in King Georges side that King George could not rid himself of just as Woodard and Bernstein proved the power of the gatekeepers ability to bring down the most powerful man on earth.
Karl Ferdinand Braun’s little invention however useful it was to the Mainstream Media was eventually to be the means by which the Mainstream Media committed suicide. With the invention of the internet something that the Mainstream Media had avoided for hundreds of years came to pass. The information exchange became a two way conversation. The gatekeepers ceased to have total control over what the general public learned. For the first time in human history the official media narrative could not only be fact checked in real time by any and everyone, but any and everyone could challenge the official media narrative. The human race found it’s voice.
In their narcissistic arrogance the Mainstream Media made and is still making every effort to retain their historical role as the sole gatekeeper of information, in short, they are and have refused to accept that they no longer have exclusive control over the narrative. In so doing, they committed suicide by refusing to change with the times. As the internet grew and continues to grow the general public’s ability to fact check and challenge the official media narrative has grown exponentially. As the general public becomes more and more aware that they are being lied to either outright through the dissemination of intentionally false information or through the intentional omission of factual information as filtered through no longer disguised or concealed ideological bias the general public simple ceases to rely on what has become an obviously corrupt Mainstream Media.
Faced with the indisputable evidence that the general public no longer considers them to be a reliable or trustworthy source of information the Mainstream Media, rather than adapt have chosen to double down on their biased dissemination of deceptive propaganda and disinformation. Grasping with all their might in an attempt to retain the power they once wielded, rather than retain that power, they push it ever further away at a constantly increasing speed. The general pubic is slowly but surely awaking to the fact that Dan Rather and “his fake but true” throbbing memo were not a exception to the rule, but in fact were the rule.
So, yes, the Mainstream Media is dead, they are the walking dead in not only the literal sense, but the figurative metaphorical zombie who desperately want’s to eat your brains sense as well. They committed suicide just like so many power crazed dictators who attempted to hold on to their subjective thrones at any cost. They committed suicide by ignoring that the times had changed and that they had lost their once iron grip on what the general public learned and knew, and with that what the general public thought.
Enter the New Media:
Like the birth of the information age when Karl Ferdinand Braun invented the diode, the internet was born in essentially obscurity. Originally invented and designed to allow physicist’s to share their research, and then as a research tool itself the internet came into existence with very little public fanfare. It started out as a collection of college and research based computers connected together for scientists. Picked up on by the military for it’s strategic value as a means of rapid dissemination of tactical information and then adopted by a general public with an insatiable hunger for technology that could both make their lives easier to manage and entertain them as well, the internet exploded with innovative idea’s all which were spawned from tools designed for research.
That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the internet is and always was designed to be the single most powerful research tool ever invented by man. More importantly, just because you can use it to buy shoes, a new computer, or even a used car. That you can facebook, twitter or blog doesn’t mean that it’s primary purpose has changed or is in any way shape of fashion altered, nor have any of those wonderful things that you can do on the internet come from anything less than, the basic research tools embedded in the structure of the internet. Facebook, twitter, blogging, online sales and even streaming video are all basic research tools. You may not think or realize that you are using them for research, but the reality is… You are.
The New Media is the inescapable evolution of information sharing and research. It’s future shape is anything but certain, but it’s continued presences is all but assured, and it’s growing influence akin to the irresistible force. What was in doubt for many years, and is the old media’s only remaining claim to legitimacy, is the New Media’s ability to financially support the individuals who engage in the physical gathering of information. In the old media these individuals were called “Reporters” or “Journalists” and they were financially supported by a combination of advertising revenue and the physical sales of printed material.
Andrew Breitbart may well have been one of if not the first true New Media reporter, just as it can hardly be doubted or questioned that Matt Drudge is the New Media’s first Managing Editor. Charles Johnson of “Little Green Footballs” (who tragically suffered some form of mental breakdown and destroyed in a Pyrrhic fire his Blog), is arguably the New Media’s first Editorial columnist. While the honor of creating the first digital Newspaper is a little more difficult to identify, one can be rather certain that Andrew Breitbart/Arianna Huffington, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga and Michelle Malkin were among the first to prove that it could be both done, and done profitably.
Is this an exhaustive listing, no of course not, it may not even be accurate as a basic time line indicator of who did what first. It serves only as a general indicator of how the internet inevitably gave birth to the New Media. All of these individuals demonstrated three simple irrefutable facts. The general public no longer put their trust in the old media, and that it was possible to not only challenge the old media’s narrative successfully, but to build a functional profitable business model on doing so and that anyone could do so. No longer was the man who purchased ink by the barrel the tyrant exclusively in charge of the information the general public had access to, and he no longer has the power to utterly and completely shut down anyone who challenges him.
When I was younger I used to read the syndicated columnists Andy Rooney and Cal Thomas on a fairly regular basis. They were not journalists or reporters in the strict sense, they offered insightful opinions on current events. It is the syndicated columnist’s of the New Media, like Michelle Malkin and Thomas Sowell, that I as a humble and insignificant Blogger, aspire to emulate for it is the Michelle Malkin’s and Thomas Sowell’s of the New Media that are the Andy Rooney’s and Cal Thomas’ of the New Media.
Yes, the old Fifth Column Treasonous Media is dead, it is the walking dead, hungry to eat your brains like a zombie, unaware even that they are dead or a plague on humanity, the Old Media is dead… Long live the New Media.