February 17, 2004

Would You Buy News You Don't Trust?

William Safire frets over media consolidation. He worries that with fewer and fewer outlets, a particular conglomerate would "rule the world" (his words).

This is a far fetched perspective, I think. Put simply, would you trust only one viewpoint, only one media outlet? I wouldn't do so and I think that most people wouldn't, especially when alternative media starts providing things that are materially different than the "mainstream" media. The Drudge Report broke into the world's consciousness despite a pretty airtight media blackout over its coverage. Eventually, it grew to be too embarrassing to maintain that blackout as mainstream media lost credibility, and thus viewership and revenue due to it.

The bleeding is still going on. While corporate ownership of certain media methods is concentrating, people are abandoning precisely those media outlets because of their poor performance. Wherever there is a buck to be made, an audience to be gathered, an idea to be expressed, either the mainstream will do it honestly or they will find themselves with new competitors who will muscle them out of the way.

Ultimately, lies cost people money, cost people elections, impact lives in many varied ways. To "rule the world" via a media empire, you'd have to lie to manipulate people. The truth squad ethic on the Internet simply won't permit those lies to go unchallenged.

Posted by TMLutas at February 17, 2004 03:14 PM