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“Those Old Men On The Train”

Friday, September 29, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Peggy Noonan is close to the target this morning:.

One can’t exaggerate how large Fox looms in the liberal imagination. They see it as huge and mighty and credit it with almost mythical powers. It is a propaganda channel who’s mission it is to destroy the Democratic Party. That’s part of why Clintons’ performance had such salience. Finally he was standing up to an evil empire.

It is odd that they are so spooked. In October America is set to become a nation of 300 million. What a big country. Fox News’s average evening prime-time viewership is less than two million. Its average daytime is less than a million. And if my mail is an indication, they’re already Republicans. Fox’s power is that it is an alternative to the mainstream media. It did not take its shape by deeply inhaling liberalism and slowly breathing it out.

The left sees Fox as a symptom and promoter of anarchy. The old unity, the old essential unity one used to experience when one turned on the TV in 1950 or 1980, has been fractured, brokenup. We are becoming balkanized. Fox, blogs, talk radio, the Internet, citizen reporters–it’s all producing cacophony, and heralds a future of No Compromise. No one trusts the information they’re given anymore, as they trusted Uncle Walter. This is bad for the country.

It is an odd thing about modern liberals that they’re made anxious by the unsanctioned. A conservative is more likely to see what’s happening as freedom. It isn’t that honest and impartial news lost its place of respect, it’s that establishment liberalism lost its journalistic monopoly. And it was a monopoly.

The only significant aspect she misses in this must-read is that the old monopoly wasn’t producing quality goods.  And as the monopoly got older, its production values fell steadily.  Thus Bill Moyers consumed hour after hour of airtime, Dan Rather was seen by the suits as credible, and John Chancellor delivered commentaries that were forgotten before they were spoken.  By the time Rush arrived to smash the monopoly, it was as weak as a two hundred year old castle’s rotted doors.

Because the product wasn’t any good.And the producers were in-bred, myopic, and slow.  Very, very slow.

Now change has been thrust upon them, and that slowness produces, what?  Keith Olbermann?  The tenured elite in newsrooms keep on doing exactly what they have been doing for thirty years –but no one is reading/watching/listening.

And the new team, full of energy and innovation, keeps on getting better and better.

And the losers keep huddling together in seminars, asking themselves what went wrong, and tinkering with their web sites.

The day a network offers Rush a nightly commentary is the day I will believe “the old men on the train” and their successors get it. But that won’t happen, because it would oblige them to admit their failure and confront their own relentless myopia.




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