Ed Driscoll

New Silicon Graffiti Video: The Rise Of The Protean Corporation

The latest edition of Silicon Graffiti definitely lives up the first half of the series name, as I interview Silicon Valley’s own Michael S. Malone of ABC News and the “Edgelings” blog at Pajamas Media, about his new book, The Future Arrived Yesterday: The Rise of the Protean Corporation. We’ll discuss:

  • What is a “Protean Corporation”?
  • How does it differ from a “Virtual Corporation”? Whose name, now commonplace, derives from an earlier book that Michael co-authored.
  • Why the Obama administration is trying to reign in a wildly diversified economy with a command & control governing style.

And he’ll also extensively discuss his Drudge-lanched article at ABC and Pajamas, (each of which received literally hundreds of reader comments) near the end of the 2008 presidential election, in which he wrote, among other things:

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a manner that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it’s because we don’t understand what their motives really are.  It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide – especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50:50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes . . .and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain’s.  That’s what reporters do, I was proud to have been one, and I’m still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign?  Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors.  The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay-out the editorial pages.  They are the real culprits.

Why?  I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one:  Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power . . . only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry.  The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent.  Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared.  Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb.  The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, ten years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -and desperate times call for desperate measures.  Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play.  Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here.  After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway – all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself:  an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.  With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country . . .

Tune in here to watch — and listen to this coming week’s  PJM Political for more from our interview:

To watch our nearly 40 previous editions of Silicon Graffiti, click here and just keep scrolling, or visit our YouTube page. You’re more than welcome to embed the above video on your own blog — in fact, we encourage it. For a YouTube-sized version, click on the sideways-Y-shaped icon on the above video. To embed the bigger 16X9 widescreen version, click here, then click “Embed” and choose (naturally enough) “Big Widescreen Player” from the options below.