xer-files
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
  We are not the mainstream media...
Juan Cole blogged this piece on Mainstream Media (MSM) and Bloggers

Mainstream Media and Bloggers

Matthew Haughey says he won't read our blogs if we use the term "mainstream media"
(a.k.a. MSM).

A news flash for Matt: We don't care.
We don't care if you read our web logs.

The difference, Matt, is that we are independent actors, not part of a small set of multi-billion dollar corporations. The difference is that we are not under the constraints of making a 15% profit. The difference is that we are a distributed information system, whereas MSM is like a set of stand-alone mainframes. The difference is that we can say what we damn well please.

If we were the mainstream media (perhaps better thought of as corporate media), we would care if you threatened to stop reading us. Because although we might be professional news people, we would have the misfortune to be working for corporations that are mainly be about making money.
We would be ordered to try to avoid saying anything too controversial (and I don't mean "Crossfire" controversial), because we would be calculating what would bring in 15% profits per annum on our operating capital. Would hours and hours of television "reportage" and discussion of Michael Jackson or of Terri Schiavo or Scott Peterson (remember?) bring in viewers and advertising dollars? Then that is what we would be giving the public.
Bread and circuses.

Would giving airtime to Iraq, where we Americans have 138,000 troops and are spending $300 billion that we don't have, be too depressing to bring in the audience and advertising and the 15% profit? Then we would dump it in favor of bread and circuses.

We'd dump Afghanistan as a story even faster, since there are "only" 17,000 US troops in that country, and it is only a place where Ben Laden may be hiding out and from which the US was struck on 9/11, leaving 3,000 dead and the Pentagon and World Trade Center smouldering.

If we were the mainstream media as Ashley Banfield was, our careers would be over if we mentioned a little thing like the replacement of journalism with patriotism in the coverage of the Iraq War.
Or if we said things like Ashley did of March-April 2003: "You didn't see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortar landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me. There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage-? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story . . ." /../
 
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