Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Media and Trust

I was talking to my boss the other day and we got into a discussion about the media, one of my favorite topics. He has a bit of a libertarian bent which is fun to debate but this conversation we were more or less in agreement eventually.

Basically I was talking about how I think once the major tv and print media became parts of corporations they lost a lot of independence that is necessary to make this a functioning democracy. I also maintained that the Internerd and the blogs that populate it are starting to fill in that gap. I pointed to Talking Points Memo's recent Polk Award win as proof of this.

Originally he argued that he believes blogs are mostly opinion and don't have the same...and he struggled here but in essence I think he was looking for the word 'official'...feel to them. That's a good point on the surface, but I think what it really comes down to is trust.

The media, back when it was actually independent and was more interested in investigative journalism into abuses instead of sex, engendered a lot of trust. The corporatization of the media and the obsessive focus on the stupid stuff instead of the important stuff has violated a lot of the trust for a lot of Americans.

Meanwhile, the blogs have started to gain people's trust. It has been slow but it is increasing and pretty rapidly. As the media gets further and further out-of-touch the trend will continue and I believe that can only be good for our democracy in general.

Anyway, it was a cool conversation and I think the trust argument makes a lot of sense. I'm glad he pushed me into developing it.


SuperMel said...

Agree, right on. And with trust comes credibility.

A lot of people have a hard time thinking of blogs as hard news. I think it's a generational thing, and the proliferation of so many fluff blogs in the beginning. It was too easy to post anything and call it reporting. But I think blog quality has increased and they've been scooping the traditional media on stories. And they've gotten it right. People are paying attention to that.

What will be interesting is if blogs can keep it up and withstand pressure to sell out. I think that's a ways off though. I'm enjoying the rise of collective reporting.

Joe said...

"Assault on Reason" by Al Gore. Says alot of what you just said. You are spot on.