Ed Driscoll

How Traditional Media Lose Audience To The Web

As I wrote yesterday, it’s obvious that the chief role of the legacy media is keeping news out of circulation, rather than generating it. Matthew Sheffield concurs:

In far too many newsrooms, the question is no longer about serving the public’s right to know but protecting the public from things it wants to know. No wonder they’re looking elsewhere.

And just to follow-up on my quote on Tuesday from Umberto Eco about the age of outrageous credulity, the legacy media’s role as gatekeeper is combined with their utter naivete when faced with a candidate whom they admire, as John Weidner writes:

Everybody who retained any objectivity could see that [John Edwards] was a phony, and were not surprised by this. When a guy talks populism and green-ism while building the biggest mansion in the county, there’s a 99% chance that he’s a sham. When a guy spends minutes in front of a mirror fluffing his hairdo, there’s a 99% chance that he will not resist the sexual temptations available to a celebrity.

And when you make millions as a trial lawyer, it means you are skilled at convincing people of things that just ain’t so.

Most importantly, what you are comes out in your life. If you are real, then a presidential campaign will bring lots of stories to the surface, from people who were impressed with the candidate’s actions long before they could be helpful in any campaign. If Edwards really cared about that poor little girl supposedly shivering because she could not afford a coat, he would have been spending time working with groups who help the poor. And doing so long ago, before it might gain him any advantage. (And if Shapiro were a real journalist he would have taken note that cheap coats are available at any thrift store, and that people just give old coats away by the ton. The story was always bogus.)

Hey, Sam Kinison figured out that last part over 20 years ago.

Update: Dean Barnett adds:

So is it shocking that such a fellow would cheat on his mortally ill wife while recklessly jeopardizing his political agenda (not that he ever gave a fig about that agenda)? Of course not. The more pressing question is how he was able to get away with such a stunt. Okay, he personally charmed Walter Shapiro so Shapiro gets a pass based on his apparent congenital gullibility. But what of the rest of the putatively objective media that didn’t get to bask in Edwards’ golden glow over “raw” dinners? Why were only Mickey Kaus and the National Enquirer curious about this fellow who so energetically sought to be the world’s most powerful man?

Related thoughts from Mark Hemingway.