Murdoch -- the media dug it's own hole
With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.
"My summary of the way some of the established media has responded to the internet is this: it's not newspapers that might become obsolete. It's some of the editors, reporters, and proprietors who are forgetting a newspaper's most precious asset: the bond with its readers," said Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive officer of News Corp. He made his remarks as part of a lecture series sponsored by the Australian Broadcast Corporation. ...
"The complacency stems from having enjoyed a monopoly--and now finding they have to compete for an audience they once took for granted. The condescension that many show their readers is an even bigger problem. It takes no special genius to point out that if you are contemptuous of your customers, you are going to have a hard time getting them to buy your product. Newspapers are no exception."
The 77-year-old Murdoch, recalling a long career in newspapers that began when his father's death forced him to take over the Adelaide News in 1952, said the profession has failed to creatively respond to changes wrought by technology.
"It used to be that a handful of editors could decide what was news-and what was not. They acted as sort of demigods. If they ran a story, it became news. If they ignored an event, it never happened. Today editors are losing this power. The Internet, for example, provides access to thousands of new sources that cover things an editor might ignore. And if you aren't satisfied with that, you can start up your own blog and cover and comment on the news yourself. Journalists like to think of themselves as watchdogs, but they haven't always responded well when the public calls them to account." ...
"Far from celebrating this citizen journalism, the establishment media reacted defensively. During an appearance on Fox News, a CBS executive attacked the bloggers in a statement that will go down in the annals of arrogance. '60 Minutes,' he said, was a professional organization with 'multiple layers of checks and balances.' By contrast, he dismissed the blogger as 'a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing.' But eventually it was the guys sitting in their pajamas who forced Mr. Rather and his producer to resign.
"Mr. Rather and his defenders are not alone," he continued. "A recent American study reported that many editors and reporters simply do not trust their readers to make good decisions. Let's be clear about what this means. This is a polite way of saying that these editors and reporters think their readers are too stupid to think for themselves." ...
The Rathergate scandal is a part of journalistic history that still sticks in the craw of the MSM. No one believed that Rather would have blatantly and willingly peddled a story in an attempt to sway voters in a presidential election, but he did. As long as the evidence still exists, Rather will never live down his humiliating lie.
Murdoch is correct, to a point. Citizen journalists have forced the MSM to acknowledge that they're not the only ones who drive news in the world. And the MSM has responded in a way most wouldn't have predicted. Some of the outlets have set up blogs of their own, and others have brought bloggers on board their ships of industry in an attempt to catch up. Blogging caught the MSM by surprise -- barbarians at the gates, if you will -- and bloggers demanded something from the media they had long since tossed by the wayside.
While the media seems to have embraced the medium by which bloggers utilize, they lack the mindset of a blogger. News, no matter how good or bad, has a right to be aired so the public stays better informed. Sure most bloggers have an ideological bias, but it doesn't go into the reporting they do. It goes into the commentary they provide. But the MSM has been using commentary in place of news for years. Search through the archives of Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs, Hot Air, or any other major blogger, and watch how they pick out that commentary in news stories.
But Murdoch's point is a valid one. The MSM has dug itself a hole in more ways than one, and it was no more evident than in this election. Every major media outlet treated Obama like a god, and refused to vet him, refused to question him, and couldn't help but slobber all over him. That wasn't how they handled McCain or any of his surrogates. Just look at the hatchet jobs the New York Times pulled on McCain and compare them to the hatchet jobs they pulled on Obama. (For the record, there were no hatchet jobs on Obama from the Times.)
The mask has slipped. The emperor has no clothes. The MSM is exposed, and people know it. They don't trust the media any longer, and many, many people are turning to the Internet for their information. It's not just blogs that they're turning to. They're turning to international press accounts and other sources that the MSM doesn't bother to look at. Times have changed, and if they don't make necessary changes for the 21st Century they'll be marginalized by an increasingly online world.
HT to Charles Johnson