Harmful If Swallowed

Yeah, the Kool-Aid does taste funny. Molly Ivins tears into the assumption that the newspaper business is dying because it isn’t delivering profits. Sure, there’s a steady decline in the industry over the long term. But profits are still happening. What’s killing newspapers is a mania for profits at any cost. Cut reporters and the space devoted to news. Profits will certainly go up. But then newspapers will certainly die. Which wouldn’t matter if newspapers weren’t fundamental to the creation of a well-informed citizenry.

Yeah, but – isn’t the growth of the blogosphere making up for this? And acting as an offshore balance to the power of the mainstream media? Please, don’t pass the Kool-Aid. Ivins is dismissive of bloggers – they don’t have the size, interest and skills needed to go out and gather news; they remain “opinion-mongers”:

No one should be allowed to write opinion without spending years as a reporter — nothing like interviewing all four eyewitnesses to an automobile accident and then trying to write an accurate account of what happened.

Molly Ivins, Alternet

Give some of them time, Molly. Otherwise, good stuff. Particularly if you think that Rupert Murdoch assigning you a friend when you sign up for MySpace is mildly creepy, indicative of what lies ahead.