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Ed Driscoll

T’was Accountability That Killed The MSM

September 13th, 2009 - 1:03 am

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On Twitter, Virginia Postrel writes:

“Per @Romenesko, Washpo lost $143 million through the first six months of this year” Which means they lose $1.10 PER COPY. Yikes.”

Yikes indeed. So why is this happening? Yes, there are certainly key technological changes that are driving the Red Queen’s Race. But, as John Nolte writes at Big Hollywood, “T’was Accountability That Led the Mainstream Media to Suicide”:

Mainstream news outlets have been caught off guard before, but they used to play catch up. Today they play “hide the ball.” For as long as I’ve been politically aware the media’s been biased, but willfully ignoring a major national news story at great cost to their credibility and relevance is a new low. So what changed?

Ironically enough, scrutiny and accountability is the cause of much of the media’s increasingly disgraceful behavior.

Once trailblazer media watchdogs like talk radio, The Media Research Center and Bernard Goldberg were joined with the awesome power of the Internet and Fox News, the media’s sins of omission and commission could no longer be hidden from the general public, or denied. This gave the Fourth Estate two options.  They could either: A) Clean up their act and do their jobs honorably … or B) Surrender their fig leafs of objectivity and run amok as the ideologues they really are.

Doing their jobs honorably would mean a setback for the Leftist cause, and so they chose B.

The good news is that this appears to be a suicide run.

The Dinosaur Media is losing money, viewers and readers hand over fist. The reason they’re folding or on life support isn’t because there aren’t enough left-of-center Americans to keep them in business, it’s because, like everyone else, liberals don’t want to sit in a choir and be preached to. They want information. They want to know what’s going on in the world.

Our liberal friends may not like hearing Van Jones, the NEA and ACORN are under fire, but they still want to know. What a disappointing revelation it must be to open the New York Times or turn on the network news only to discover after the curtain has already fallen that one of Obama’s Czars was forced to resign or that the U.S. Census Bureau let ACORN go.

The liberal media is failing for the exact same reason a dozen-plus anti-war films flopped: propaganda is dull. No matter your politics, people want stimulation and information, not affirmation. Obviously, that’s not true for everyone, but it’s true enough that those media outlets who haven’t figured it out are either dancing on the edge of financial ruin or, like MSNBC, continuing to double down on stupid thinking it will increase their abysmal performance metrics.

The rise of those who watch the Watchmen forced smart, savvy individuals to consciously choose between being tenacious, curious journalists who will hold the powerful accountable, or to finally come out of the closet and declare themselves the ideological warriors they really are.

They have chosen to become the Palace Guards.

They are also cornered, scared and armed with the mighty weapons of the unethical: lies and the inability to feel shame.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, we must continue to do our best as they let loose their worst.

Count on them doing just that, as the vote for healthcare “reform” and (especially) the midterms get closer. As we wrote below, at the moment, they have but one card they seem determined to pile drive into the ground, to Cuisinart metaphors.

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