Ed Driscoll

The Old Broadcast Model's Executioner

Mark Tapscott has some kind words about my piece in Tech Central Station yesterday on 18 Doughty Street:

As if it’s not bad enough that executives and shareholders at ABC, CBS and NBC have to deal with continuing decline in their audience numbers, Tech Central Station goes and publishes a glowing piece on the old broadcast model’s executioner.

Tapscott writes:

It’s much the same set of factors that are driving traditional newspapers to move from dead-tree-only products to internet-based news and related content products and services. The internet-based news entity can dispense with the printing press, the circulation department, the costly staffs that man both, as well as lots of other traditional positions throughout the organization.

Similarly, the internet-based entertainment and news network has no need of broadcast towers and associated equipment, nor the expensive lobbying staff in Washington to keep the FCC from getting troublesome.

In short, the economic model is fundamentally changed and the price of entry is dramatically lowered. And when the price of providing a service or product drops, the number of providers of that service or product increases, as does the spectrum of consumer choice. Competition is the consumer’s best friend. Government-sanctioned monopolies granted to myopic big businesses are the consumers’ biggest enemy.

Competition also makes it more difficult for peddlers of ideological bias to disguise it as legitimate news. In short, 18 Doughty Street and the technologies that make it possible is among the best developments in years for advocates of informed public policy discussion.

I disagree with only one element of that–whereas Mark writes, “Competition also makes it more difficult for peddlers of ideological bias to disguise it as legitimate news”, I’d argue that increased competition allows consumers to get their news with a worldview that matches their own. That doesn’t mean the end of liberal bias, as, I believe, Mark is inferring. In fact, as the favorite “COD-piece” of the Strib’s Jim Boyd told Hugh Hewitt yesterday:

Jonah Goldberg: I think there is a certain irony here. I have argued for a long time that I think a lot of newspapers need to move in the European direction, where they just are honest about their biases, because one of the things that drives normal readers nuts is when these newspapers pretend to be objective when they