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The New Media

Friday, December 29, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

This is an incredible post by John Hinderaker, demonstrating on a small subject the incredible persuasive power of distributed media combining with expertise –in this case an accomplished litigator’s patient and careful examination of the facts underlying a dispute.

Yesterday The Belmont Club wrote at length on the new media’s potential to impact the course of the war, and John’s post –completely unconnected to the subject of the war– illustrates the incredible potential of the new technology to investigate and persuade about matters in dispute.  Politicians have already figured out the transforming nature of the new media, and hopefully the Pentagon will as well.

Joseph Rago asserted that “[t]he blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think,”and that. “[j]ournalism requires journalists.”

In fact, “journalists” are being exposed as slow to the story, often confused by complexity, and wholly unprepared to present difficult fact patterns even as their old media employers are cosntrained by space and the cost of paper, ink and pension plans from presenting the stories they do uncover.  John’s post –again, a small story, but thoroughly investigated– underscores the revolution we are watching, even as Wretchard’s post explores just how crucial that revolution is.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune declined in value by more than 50% in eight years.  The market does not lie. Horse drawn carriages did not immediately vanish when the first automobiles appeared, but the smart money fled their manufacturers soon thereafter.  In another eight years, will the new owners be able to give the Strib away? 

UPDATE: From a Shrinkwrapped post from last year, updated with a couple of inserts from the good doctor:

The MSM has developed a growing “Credibility Gap”. Once upon a time, they could get away with it because there was no one to fact-check them and challenge their constructions. They still act as if nothing has changed. Those who forget their history tend to repeat it; this time the MSM will take the role of LBJ, Richard Nixon, and General Westmoreland. In case they don’t remember, a reminder: once you have lost your credibility, it is almost impossible to regain it. LBJ and Nixon never did; it has taken the military almost 30 years to recapture the trust of the country (crucially not including the MSM and despite their best efforts to abu Graib and Guantanamo us to death.) [Of course, the military never lost the trust of a large percentage of the population and their will always be a hard core group of anti-military who will never trust them; the “movable” middle certainly has returned to honoring our military since Ronald Reagan was President and started the process.]

The MSM is the equivalent of the Soviet Red Army fighting in Afghanistan. They have powerful weapons but are poorly maneuverable; they are safe in their forts and rarely venture out into the real world. Their funding is slowly being pinched off and they have few new weapons in the pipeline [and recent events showing the accelerating decline in their readership and ad revenues substantiate this point.] They are constrained in their tactics by their narrow ideology and long ago lost the flexibility necessary to successfully defeat an insurgency. They face an army of bloggers which is armed with little more than digital cameras and laptops, but is incredibly mobile, has its agents literally everywhere people live and are able to leverage the truth to take down the Red Colossus. The bloggers range from left to right, but the best share the conviction that people deserve and need to know what is going on in the world; they announce their point of view and assume their audience is smart enough to know the difference between news and opinion. They do not “demand” trust based on their authoritative credentials but they build trust by telling people what they believe, correcting errors inside the decision cycle of the MSM, and linking to the stories they are covering whenever possible. Furthermore, the blogosphere finds and links the first person stories of those who are there, whenever available. These trends will only accelerate when digital video is more widespread; this is the future of news.

The MSM as presently constituted is already extinct but it may take a few years before they realize it.”

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