Thursday, September 22, 2005

Alternative Press Model?

One of the Left's mantras (and the new wierd hard right's as well) is that the press is controlled by the Corporations that own and/or advertise through it, and that all the news we see is just what the Bushitlerhaliburtonchimp and his Illuminati buddies want us to see.

If it's not abundantly clear to you by now that most of the mainstream press is very sympathetic to the liberal end of the spectrum if not card-carrying members and that their reporting reflects it, then you have your head in the sand.

So I don't even buy that the Conservative Elite control the press. True to their conservative principles, they stay out of it so much that the liberal people who make up the press are pretty much allowed to run amok.

In the Left's eyes, anyone who makes a buck off of anything is exploiting someone. Making money is bad. Communism is their logical goal. The opposite end of the political-economic systems from Communism is Capitalism. Capitalists are conservative.

Therefore, those who run the press are conservative capitalist pigs. And the news spews their agenda (riiiight... I've seen and read the news.... I don't think so).

But even supposing this is true, what are the alternatives? State-run press? BAAAAAAAAAAD idea. If you think Capitalists are corrupt, take a look at politicians. How about press anarchy? Well, to tell you the truth, that's kind of what blogs are, but blogs wouldn't have much fuel if somebody weren't out there with cameras and microphones, and press members can't eat their words for sustainence. They gotta work for somebody.

Right, then, so we're back to companies that sell stories for profit so that the can pay their employees.

There are, of course, inherent problems with this. Controversy sells, and the press constantly tries to manufacture it where there is none. However, there are problems with internal combustion engines, too -- and I still own one.

Bloggers may, in the end, be a good balancing agent for the press. We ask questions they overlook, and scrutinize their stories -- and each others' stories. In the end, we may be on to something.

1 comment:

Daniel in Brookline said...

For some reason, many on the Left see economics as a zero-sum game. If you're earning money, you're taking it away from someone else; my prosperity equals poverty for someone else, or maybe many someones; and so forth.

This is an idea that went out the window with Adam Smith. Call it the last gasp of American socialism, if you like -- for in socialism, with the government expected to provide all goods and services, something given to someone is indeed something taken away from someone else.

But capitalism doesn't work that way, and this has been known for a long time. Bill Whittle has a great common-sense example of this, which I hope he won't mind my excerpting here. (Click the link to see the original.)

You buy a legal pad: $1.29
You steal a Bic pen from the counter at Kinko’s: free.
You write the script for Weekend at Bernies 3: Bernie’s Revenge!: free.
You hire someone to type it: $30.00
You have Kinko’s print 5 copies: $62.20
You mail the 5 copies: $7.82
5 idiots in Hollywood love the idea: free
They enter a bidding war: free
You get a check for: one…million…dollars!

So let’s see…that $1,000,000, minus the $101.30 in expenses…uh…that means…You, the village idiot, have just raised the Gross Domestic Product by, uh, one million freaking dollars, and have made a personal profit of $999,898 dollars and 69 cents.

Where did the $999,898.69 come from? It came from thin air! You
created it, out of nothing.

In other words, there is nothing inherently wrong with making a profit. Sure, it's possible to make a profit at someone else's expense, and you need to watch for that. But it's perfectly possible to make a profit without exploiting anyone too.

In re the conspiracy theories about control of the press: it's sad that this topic keeps coming up. Let me just say this: conspiracy theories, which cannot be disproved, are nonsense. Show me a theory of press control -- and explain the experiments you'd run to demonstrate that you're right, or that you're wrong, with the outcome not predetermined by the nature of the experiment -- and then we'll have something to talk about.

Furthermore, given that a good many millions of people still live in countries of government-controlled media, conspiracy theories about American media are not only ridiculous; they're in extremely poor taste. If you think the Hard Right has a hammerlock on the American media, go talk to any recent immigrant from Eastern Europe; you'll get an earful about what a controlled media really looks like.

(I don't believe in deliberate control of the media by the Loony Left either. As the man says, "The problem with most conspiracy theories is that they seem to believe that for a group of people to behave in a way detrimental to the common good requires intent.")

Daniel in Brookline