The mainstream media is dead. The body may still be warm and there are still a few flickering vital signs, but it is dead, and it is just a matter of time until a death certificate is issued and a funeral planned.
This is obvious in light of the total absence of mainstream media coverage of the Gathering of Eagles vigil to protect national monuments from vandalism by Cindy Sheehan/Jane Fonda anarchist forces on March 17 in Washington DC. Since the Gathering was such as smashing success, it follows that coverage, or lack of coverage by the mainstream media is ultimately irrelevant.
Although the pro-terrorism, pro-communist forces headlined by Sheehan, who went out of her way to avoid appearing before the general public, and Fonda, who boycotted the event, had a year or more to plan their failed outing, the Gathering of Eagles was planned and implemented in six weeks.
Although Sheehan, Fonda and their anarchist followers have immediate and near constant access to a fawning mainstream media, the GOE continually ran into a brick wall of silence whenever attempts were made to obtain widespread coverage of the vigil.
Yet, on the day of the pro-terrorist march on the Pentagon, the Sheehan/Fonda forces were vastly outnumbered by the Eagles.
Since the mainstream media was a non-factor, or a negative factor, in the Eagles' gathering, and since virtually all of the communication involved in organizing the gathering was done via the Internet, it follows that the mainstream media has finally, publicly outlived its usefulness.
There have been signs that this is happening for at least four decades, but the GOE gathering certainly puts an exclamation point on the mainstream media's death sentence.
The print media has been especially vulnerable to the forces of the marketplace, and newspapers that continually present a one-sided anti-American point of view have suffered noticeably.
Subscribers, who can turn to the Internet for a wide range of regional, national and international news and opinion, have cancelled their newspaper subscriptions in droves in city after city across the country where the leftist point of view is the only point of view in print. The downturn in circulation, especially dramatic in light of the fast growth in the overall population, in turn creates a downturn in advertising revenues, which are directly tied to circulation.
The downturn in advertising revenues, which are the lifeblood of the news industry, in turn leads to shrinking news holes (the percentage of the paper that is devoted to news stories as opposed to ads) which in turn lead to further decreases in circulation. This leads to further cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, and reductions in coverage through attrition.
Papers all across the country, from international standard bearers such as the Los Angeles and New York Times to regional powerhouses like the Hartford Courant, and Baltimore Sun are scrambling to find new ways to keep current subscribers, and to bring back those who have turned elsewhere for their news. But in many cases the methodology represents the same time worn efforts that have failed so miserably in the past.
Redesign the front page, redesign the section covers, try to be more 'relevant,' run slick ad campaigns to attract new readers, offer a plethora of delivery packages and ads including discount coupons by the reams. But if the news hasn't changed, hasn't drawn back from the liberal, left-wing Democrat, anti-military, anti-troop, pro-terrorism template, the readers simply won't come on board.
The electronic media also has become increasingly vulnerable in recent years. A mainstay of the electronic media's approach to news is the use of 'on-air personalities' - people with great radio voices, or great TV faces to read the news, using the authoritative delivery to also impart a sense of veracity. But listeners and viewers learned that some of the most trusted news readers on the American scene, led in the Vietnam era by Walter Cronkite, known affectionately as Uncle Walter, The Most Trusted Man in America, spent much of their careers delivering politically tainted falsehoods to the their audiences.
It might have worked for individuals, but those who followed Uncle Walter are now suffering the consequences. Viewers and listeners have learned that the easiest way to marginalize the big (biased) voices of the electronic media is to use the OFF button.
Network news readers, who are and paid very, very well for selling their souls, are now becoming a huge drain on the annual budgets of corporate owners that can't generate sufficient ad revenues to cover their costs. The response has been an endless shuffling of personalities in an effort to provide the right combination of appeal and sincerity.
But again, the public has learned and responded accordingly. Since virtually any news outlet has legions of attractive personalities to choose from, and one is arguably as attractive as another, viewers actually turn to those news outlets that give them - news! More importantly, viewers turn to outlets that give them unbiased news, if that is possible.
Again, the best source of information on any issue at virtually any time, is the Internet. Not only can numerous versions of the same incident be found without much difficulty, but legions of writers can quickly be found who are offering their opinions on those stories. Many are actually quite independent of political parties and philosophies!
So, the Gathering of Eagles was an incredible success, and now the organizers are working to create a wider network of people who can be called on for quick response to events such as the pro-terrorism march on the Pentagon and threats to our memorials. The GOE organizers have great chances of succeeding for many reasons, not the least of which are their military backgrounds, commitment to the cause of freedom, and dissatisfaction with the America bashers who have had their way with the mainstream media for decades.
If the GOE can generate the crowds and enthusiasm that were evident in DC on such short notice, on a weekend in which travel to and in the northeast was hazardous, imagine what can be accomplished with a solid network in place and a reasonable time to prepare!
If the mainstream media was truly interested in reviving its failing life signs, it would do well to put aside its old biases and prejudices and find a way to get on board with groups like the GOE. But I don't hold out much hope that this old dog will learn anything new.
Does anyone have some ideas for inscriptions on the media tombstone?
Sunday, March 25, 2007