In “’Washington Post’ Faces Circulation, Revenue Collapse” (Breitbart, May 8, 2012), John Nolte reports,
… the Post just reported one of the biggest circulation drops of any major newspaper with the lucrative Sunday edition selling 5.2% fewer copies and the daily edition skidding almost 10%.
We’re seeing the same with the collapse of CNN’s ratings.
Big changes in how news is gathered and disseminated could be good or bad for intellectual freedom and free speech – which are as important to our community as silencing dissent is to the Darwin lobby.
Which leads me to say: Nolte makes several questionable assumptions, one of which is that progressive, left-wing bias caused the collapse of the big traditional media.
Here’s another view: As these behemoths declined in importance to the dissemination of news, they grew increasingly easy for partisan interests to capture and completely dominate.
In other words, the decline in the need for their services is the horse, and the capture by exclusively partisan interests is the cart.
Which doesn’t mean that no one anywhere would carry out such tasks. Thousands of people did. It only means that no one still working in the behemoth is likely to carry them out. Increasingly, thoughtful critique and dissent is moving both online and indie.
The news behemoths are, as a result, more likely to be the consumption choice of less well-informed people – who do not mind being less well-informed. Which in turns frees the behemoths to be more irresponsible. They pay few penalties apart from their declining circulation.
Two risks are: That governments they favour will try to rescue them. What an expensive way of prolonging their agony! Put another way, their rescue is an unreasonable burden on the taxpayer when the government has cheaper and more efficient propaganda vehicles available.
Second, that the behemoths will increasingly function as impediments to intellectual freedom and public discussion. It makes sense; their remaining core readers will increasingly view such exercises as threats or impediments. But maintaining intellectual freedom has never been easy anyway.
And it’s a great time to be an indie!