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The Reactionary Media
By Ed Driscoll · December 1, 2005 05:48 PM · Oh, That Liberal Media! · The New, New Journalism

I've linked several times to Radley Balko's post on "The Conservative Left", because its a great meme, but the specific example that Radley used is worth repeating:

You know, you sometimes get the feeling the day after the polio vaccine was invented, today's left would have run editorials lamenting the good ol' days, when we were a little more cautious about what swimming pools we jumped into, and expressing sadness that we'd now have no new stories about the afflicted overcoming their disability to inspire the rest of us.

I'm not kidding. They're that resistant to change. Every mill that shuts down is a "sign of our sad times." No matter that the new mill will do things better, faster and cheaper than the old one. New farming techniques grow more food on less land. But dammit, if there wasn't something romantic about the old-stye "family farm" that's deserving of government protection. Innovation isn't celebrated, it's excoriated for displacing some idealized vision of the way things once were. In matters of progress and dyanmism, the left is far more conservative than the conservatives are.

And this time, as The Goldengate.net illustrates today, instead of reporting on a family farm or antediluvian steel mill, it's legacy media journalists themselves who feel threated by the rise of Craigslist, a sprawling regional Internet help wanted/classified ad/personals BBS:
Well, I suppose self-pity and bellyaching and sour grapes coming from a dead-tree media outlet over the success of a slick and widely-loved new media outfit like Craigslist really doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

But, holy cow, to make a COVER STORY out of the fact that you and your fellow dead-tree Old Media outlets are getting whupped by better service and greater efficiency (and more timeliness and accuracy)? And then to expect media savvy readers to cry big splashy tears over the fact that you can’t seem to adapt your performance and business models to the new reality? That takes real chutzpah and brings navel-gazing to a whole new level.

Here’s the boldface text from the COVER of the latest SF Weekly. (I exercised restraint in the headline to this post and refrained from calling it by it’s more commonly-known street moniker—“SF, WeAkly.”)

Craig$list.com
The much-loved Web site is taking millions from Bay Area newspapers and causing layoffs that adversely affect coverage. And its founder’s well-intentioned support of citizen journalism has a slim chance of fixing the problem.
Well, gosh, we’re just all broken up for you, New Times Media (parent company of SF Wea…er SF Weekly.)

But the hard fact is, oh mainstream media, the public doesn’t OWE you readers or subscribers or ad revenue. No business is OWED customers. So I’d humbly suggest that perhaps you ought to spend a little MORE energy on “lighting a candle”—delivering better service and adapting your practices to the new reality—and a little less energy on “cursing the darkness”—hating on Craigslist and expecting us in the media buying public to beweep your sad, sad fate.

As Ian Schwartz recently noted, Mike Wallace seems to think that the president has an obligation to sit down to an interview with him. Here's a whole industry that thinks the public has an obligation to support it.

Gee--and after all they done to earn our trust.

(Via the Blogfather, who notes--and I agree--that not all newspapers are this stuck-on-stupid.)

Update: Geez, speaking of engendering trust...



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