Saturday, March 04, 2006

News vs Info-tainment

I'm sure the blogosphere is chock full 'o news junkies. One could easily send all day every day reading the seemingly endless supply of blogs offering up the latest news, dominate issues and the blogger's analysis. Sometimes I do exactly that. The digital age has brought to me infinite sources of news. The seven second sound bite is impaled by a wealth of instant in depth analysis and opinion, a news junkie's smorgasbord. I find this outlet cathartic, but I read blogs for a couple of years before ever staring this humble effort

Growing up in the 70's, there were only two daily news sources, newspapers and TV. The so called “Old Media”. There was radio of course, but before Reagan's deregulation, news radio was just TV without pictures. The AM band was still playing music, mostly the stuff that wasn't popular enough to be featured on FM. It's interesting to note that newspapers are basically unchanged, the same can be said for broadcast TV. The half hour format of news, weather, and sports remains the norm.

Cable changed this with CNN. Ted Turner's 24 hour news station. Although the content was largely a rotating version of the traditional TV news format, discussion and debate programs like Crossfire were broadcast every night instead of relegated to once a week Sunday morning programs. But talk radio may have more to do with breaking the “Big Three” stranglehold on information than any other media.

For the first time, anyone could tune in their radio to their local AM station and hear 3 full hours of analysis from a conservative view. Listeners could call in and put in their two cents. Pretty revolutionary stuff for the time. Perhaps it's no coincidence that Newt Gingrich's ”Contract With America” returned the majority of Congress to the Republicans for the first time since the 50's. AM radio was financially revitalized and programmers noted that Conservatives were loyal and numerous.

The Internet widen the horizons even further, for twenty bucks a month, John Q Pubic could read not just his local newspaper , but all the newspapers. This freed people who were subject to a town that was dominated by newspapers that didn't share his view, or didn't cover an issue he found interesting. Search engines enabled the reader to become an expert on a specific issue , or instantly check the background on the big story of the day. We all can view the news straight from the AP wire similar to the feed the News writers receive.

So now, Joe Internet can get the news, completely bypass the editor, decide for himself what's “News Fit To Print” and add his own analysis for the world wide web to see. Conservatives have said for years that the media has been dominated by the left ,and as this domination has been increasingly eroded, the Republicans have gained the House, the Senate , the White House and now the Supreme Court. It seems when the people have a real choice they chose the right. Man, I love blogging!


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