JLF Triangle Blog

Old Media, what good is it?

A few years ago I spent some time in Russia advising a new “independent” newspaper that was financed by the city council of the city I was visiting. I tried to explain to the editor and publisher that this really could not be called independence. But they felt liberated compared to their experiences with Communist Party control. Later, they would come to understand what I was talking about.

Now it seems that some journalism bigwigs in the United States are minimizing the dangers of a government-media connection. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger is in Davos, Switzerland, saying the United States government needs to help Old Media survive. This cockamamie idea turns the First Amendment on its head. The Founders wanted the media to be immune from government control so it would be free to act as a watchdog on government. Pretty simple idea, really.

The Future of News‘ Steve Boriss points out that New Media acolytes Michael Arrington and Jeff Jarvis condemn the idea as absurd, and he adds this stinging coda:

If New Media types like Arrington and Jarvis understand the importance of the First Amendment and are willing to defend it, and Old Media will not, that’s the best reason I’ve heard so far to let the mainstream media go to its final reward.

6 Responses to “Old Media, what good is it?”

  • Jan
    25
    2008

    “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787. ME 6:57

  • Jan
    25
    2008

    Oh yeah, quoted from this link.

  • Jan
    25
    2008

    Sorry, I meant to actually post this quote, which seems even more relevant:

    “The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers… [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.” –Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632

  • Jan
    25
    2008

    No wonder why Old Media is in favor of socialism; they need it to survive.

  • Jan
    25
    2008

    [...] That brings us to the World Economic Forum in Davros, Switzerland. Yesterday, Columbia University (yes, that Columbia University, home of the Columbia School of Journalism) President Lee Bollinger announced his support for government subsidies for “Old Media” (H/T – Jon Ham). [...]

  • Jan
    25
    2008

    The decline and fall of “Old Media”

    I guess I could say that this is a Ham family affair, because the hat tips for both halves come from them. First, let’s take the Newsbusters way-back machine back 20 years (H/T – Mary Katharine Ham), back before blogs, back to the dawn of…

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