Liberal Bent Newspapers Miss The Point

May 4, 2009

Many conservatives like to believe that the rapidly fading fortunes of the liberal-dominated print media is in large part due to conservatives turning to the alternative media for unbiased reporting and/or reporting with a more conservative spin.

While there is some merit to the conservative claim, it isn’t the decisive factor that many of us would like to think.

In this case, the conservative theory on the downfall of the print media is more schadenfreude, directed at an age-old antagonist, than actual analysis.

That’s not to say the media isn’t biased, because it is, and the conservative spurning of traditional media is real, and has had an effect.

The popularity and ratings dominance of Fox News on cable TV speaks for itself.

But there are bigger and even more revolutionary forces at work in the world of print journalism, and anyone with an interest in politics needs to understand what is really going on.

In a lengthy and important piece titled, >Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable, >Clay Shirky offers the best analysis of the Internet’s effect on the print media I’ve ever read.

I have been asked many times over the last few months why I’ve chosen to write a blog online for the Sun Sentinel instead of trying to get published in the print edition. The Shirky piece has the answer, and Shirky should be required reading for everyone in the media, and for those who regularly interact with the media.

According to Shirky: “ Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism,” and, “When we shift our attention from ’save newspapers’ to ’save society,’ the imperative changes from ‘preserve the current institutions’ to ‘do whatever works.’ And what works today isn’t the same as what used to work.”

So in my own small way, I’m trying to do “whatever works,” in service to conservatism, online, at the Sun Sentinel.

It is interesting to note that with only the rarest exception, everyone who has asked me the “why online instead of print” question has been over 50 years old. Hardly anyone under 40 has asked me that question. The under-40s don’t have to ask. They already know the answer.

Jack Furnari

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One Response to “Liberal Bent Newspapers Miss The Point”

  1. Steven Rosenblum said

    I agree completely. I haven’t read a print newspaper in years. I go online where I have an array of choices literally at my fingertips. Otherwise, I watch Fox News Channel for “fair and balanced” coverage of the news.
    But whether it’s the print media or cable news, there is a clear bias that not only conservatives have rejected. I think independents and even many democrats have seen the bias and have looked elsewhere for their news.
    Newspapers may die, but what is in immediate danger of being lost is impartial, unbiased journalism.

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