Ed Driscoll

The Future Of New Media And Its Enemies -- Updated

Inside Tucker Carlson’s new Daily Caller Website (the new home of satirist/blogger/all-around good guy Jim Treacher), Andrew Breitbart welcomes Tucker to the world of new media.

Actually, it’s both a welcome and a warning. Breitbart writes:

While I am not clever enough to understand whether true objective neutrality in journalism can be reached, I know that there are some in the profession who strive for that ideal, but those newsroom anomalies are becoming an ever-rarer breed, as new media makes its mark on old media.  Except for a few network and newspaper closet cases, who we all know suffer grave consequences for voicing their dissent, the original content news drivers, those that craft the daily narratives from their sheltered offices on 6th Avenue and near Times Square remain protected by this grand inside joke of objectivity.  “Our reporting doesn’t show any ideological slant” they will say, with a knowing wink to each other.  But remember, they also say they are thrilled with Anderson Cooper’s ratings in the same breath.  You decide.

I’m not sure why’d they be thrilled about his ratings. And I’m also not at all sure that “true objective neutrality” is possible. Writing about politics and current affairs, you have to have some sort of worldview of America’s place in the world, which party you prefer, whether you’re for free markets and consumer choice, or top-down government controls, etc. It will all come out in the writing eventually — especially when you start having to fumble on topics such as bias in the media, bias in your own office, where you stand on movements such as the Tea Partiers versus “anti-war” protesters, etc.

More from Andrew:

From its inception, the Internet has stood for the free-flow of information, unfiltered by a small handful of influential “deciders,” dolling out news like the miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, with a stack of gold coins.  As more news and more information found its way to consumers, an amazing thing happened:  The market for this information grew.

The consumer of news and information now has a clear and distinct choice between two approaches in delivering this valuable commodity:

On one side you have the New York-based intelligentsia, driving the narratives of our times with the guidance of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Anyone who knows this crowd knows them to be neither “objective” or “bias-neutral,” yet that line is propagated on television news and in print media and we are supposed to accept it.  They have built walls between themselves and their customers, disdainfully and grudgingly accepting their criticisms only when forced to acknowledge their egregious errors (are you still out there, Mr. Rather?).

On the other side you have writers, researchers and pundits from every corner of our land, proudly disclosing their true core principles for all to see.  They present the stories that move them and respond in real time to the interactive feedback of their consumers.  They lose credibility (and audience) not for their opinions, but for journalistic errors and, more importantly, how they handle those errors.  The fact is this: they are actually held to a higher journalistic standard because of the frank and honest disclosure of their point of view.  When they mess up, they make their own side look bad.  This ends up being a much tougher code of ethics than something dreamed up by a J-School panel of advisors.

When you look at the two sides it becomes pretty clear that it isn’t really a choice at all, is it? One side represents an outdated mode of operation borne of necessity due to the limited technology of a by-gone age, perpetuated by a self-congratulatory graduate-school culture that rewards and protects its own while simultaneously denying the legitimacy of the opposition.  The other side is based on freedom, liberty and market forces, using reason, logic and a reliance upon the reader’s own wisdom and common sense to form his or her own conclusions after receiving all of the unfiltered information available.  Which would any normal person instinctively choose?

And hence, the warning:

And now, Tucker, with the launch of The Daily Caller, you immediately bring a new and credible voice to our cause.  I expect you to be the target of multiple attacks in the very near future.  I expect this because I expect you to be effective.  To that end, be on the lookout for a bizarre operation by the name of Media Matters for America. You will have a team of dishonest “fact-checkers” distorting many of the stories you report with the goal of intimidating the mainstream media from taking your work seriously.

What I’ve come to recognize over the past year is when you have a guy reading your every word, or listening to and transcribing every single thing Rush Limbaugh says, it means that what you’re doing actually matters so much to America that you now have to deal with Media Matters for America.  In other words:  You know you’ve made it when pathetic watchdog groups like MMFA clog inboxes with desperate screeds, written in haste, marred by inaccuracies – the result of a keyboard clogged with boogers and desperation.

Welcome to the Battle.

Good luck — with (to take but one example) the aforementioned Media Matters considering Al Sharpton — he of Tawana Brawley and Freddy’s Fashion Mart infamy — as an authoritative media voice on racial issues, you’ll need it.

Update: And speaking of whom, in a new essay at the Daily Caller, Carlson explores “A moral arbiter for our age, Rev. Al Sharpton.”

Elsewhere, there’s more new media synergy, as Liz Stephans and Scott Baker of Breitbart.tv’s B-Cast show interview Jim Treacher on the day of the site’s launch.