September 15, 2005

MSM Decomposition Recipe

James Pinkerton gets the tactical moment right in his metanalysis of the MSM assault on President Bush. I think he doesn't quite get the MSM's vulnerability

So is there any hope for the administration? And, more to point, for a fair and balanced media? And for a limited government to go with it?

Sure there's hope, for two reasons:

First, the MSM is still shrinking. It hasn't disappeared yet, and it may never go extinct, but new players continue to crowd into the marketplace, including Google News and now, even more dramatically, Yahoo!

Second, libertarians and conservatives have proven that they can win arguments, even in such touchy areas as race and poverty. There's a reason Republicans have won seven of the ten presidential elections since Lyndon Johnson launched the Great Society. So by all means, let's compare the domestic ideas of the national Republicans to those of the national Democrats -- letalone the New Orleans Democrats. Let's put Rudy Giuliani up against Ray Nagin, and see which approach the country prefers.

The missed point is why is the MSM shrinking? It isn't new entrants. They only exist because there is unmet demand. If the MSM was on its game properly, it'd be able to fight back the new entrants and buy out the marginal successes after their venture owners tired of being in the asterisks of market share.

The MSM is shrinking because every time after they pull a fast one on the people, a few percentage points more people get fed up with it and seriously look for alternatives. A few percent more that were already looking settle on alternatives to add to their mix. A few percent more that already have alternative news sources just turn off the MSM as not worth the time and the effort to sort the wheat from the chaff anymore. Most deadly, a few percent more people start viewing those who depend on MSM news with contempt for being led around by the nose.

It's that last group that is the most deadly because it sets up a counterculture enforcement mechanism that speeds the transfer of consumers of MSM away from those outlet. Even the least political, least observant person around can understand a sudden chill in a group conversation and the raised eyebrows that go with an incredulous "you watch/listen/read that?".

This is industry suicide and very demonstrably contrary to shareholders' interest. I do wonder when the shareholders will realize it in an actionable fashion and stop the political activity that is tanking their investments.

Posted by TMLutas at September 15, 2005 03:56 PM