Slipping Relevancy

One of the many phenomena I’ve noticed is that conservatives frequently seem captivated by the premise that if only they could get some positive media attention, they’d be in better positions.  This leads to a great deal of buzz and hype when some media outlet, generally accepted as a liberal/left purveyor of pseudo-news says something nice, or merely honest about a conservative.  In my view, this misses the point, as those traditional outlets on television and in print are seeing their influence wane.  If the NY Times bothers to say something nice or merely honest about a conservative only one day in ninety, it’s no reason for excitement.  That outlet is losing subscribers as this website is gaining them.

While my subscriber list is in no way growing at the rate the Grey Lady’s base is declining, considering the growth of the greater blogosphere, every day the Times or other traditional liberal/left outlets continue their endlessly biased rage against all things center-right, the rest of us are gaining audience.  This fresh diversity of news, opinion, and rhetoric is why the “New Media” is gaining while traditional media declines.  My advice to others is simple:  Stop worrying about what the old media  is saying.  As some in talk radio have explained, we don’t need their approval and we shouldn’t seek it, for when they rarely offer it, it’s generally the precursor to future attacks.

This weekend, I received emails from a couple of friends who were happy to tell me how the New York Times did a story on Gov. Sarah Palin in honest terms.  I read the story, and it was mostly accurate, but the article left unexpressed the large four-legged herbivore standing in the room:  Sarah Palin has always been a different sort of Republican.  Her twenty years in various offices should have made that clear, and what the article reveals is nothing new or extraordinary about Sarah Palin, but instead something deeply disturbing about the “Lamestream Media:” In the more than three years since her introduction to the nation, somebody over there finally bothered to look a bit more closely at her record.  While I suppose we could consider this a stunning inroad  for the truth over at the NYTimes, what it really demonstrates is the reason they’re bleeding at that publication:  They’re completely out of touch and out of time with the American people.  While this one story runs, their favorite red-head will doubtless regale us once more with how the Tea Party is composed of “terrorists.” How long before Paul Krugman will feed us more leftist propaganda about President Bush “cashing-in” on terror while he himself publishes the rant on the anniversary of 9/11, in order to get attention for his position(cashing-in.) Maybe he’ll make his case for alien invasions again.

It’s worth pointing out that there is nothing under Heaven or on Earth new about getting stories right.  Many in the blogosphere established their sites with that goal in mind, not because they sought the approval of the major media, but because they no longer cared what the major media were broadcasting or printing, knowing much of it to be useless nonsense and biased drivel disguised as objective reporting. I don’t wait for the major media to tell the truth about a story.  I do the research and run with it.  Just like them, I make errors, but the difference is that my errors aren’t intentional contrivances, the corrections for which I post somewhere deep in the site.   My corrections appear as updates to the stories in which the errors appeared, and if severe enough, will get an entirely new blog post of its own.

The reason why people seek this sort of validation through the old media is easy enough to understand.  Having been pummeled and mis-characterized for generations, conservatives(and others) understandably seek some sort of  justice or vindication.  The truth is that we will gain no lasting satisfaction from it.  Instead, we should focus on building our new media, where the world is rapidly turning for more complete, detailed, and diverse information.

Consider our advantages on the Internet.  The old media is present too, but consider that their reach is fading as the web becomes more diverse.  If you want specific original content attached to your story, you can post it, and if you’re relying upon other sources, you can link it.  You can go into as much detail as you like, or as little as time permits, but in all cases, you are able to customize your message to suit your own tastes, or if you know them, the tastes of your audience.  This presents another danger, and it’s the same problem the old media faced, although in a different form:  Preaching to the choir is common on the Internet, but it’s not dangerous until the perception becomes one of insular reasoning.  We should take full advantage of the diversity of the new media in exploring the stories to which we give coverage, because in truth, we should not wish to become the electronic version of the old media with all its well-known self-congratulatory tendencies.

The ability to avoid these pitfalls may be our most precious advantage, and while the old media scrambles to retain its relevance by shifting to new media outlets of their own, we should be mindful that to avoid becoming them, we should look in other directions.  Trying to find approval with them is pointless.  They simply don’t have the influence they once held.  Sarah Palin provides an apt example: She tweets and she posts Facebook notes, and she shows up without warning in the most spectacularly apt places.  The old media runs like the devil to keep up, but in the end, they look silly and inept.  You’d think they would stop doing it, but the truth is that they’re structurally unable.  In an era when every person with a smart-phone is a potential reporter, photographers, and videographer, there’s no way they can simply abandon their methodology.  The moment they do, they will be beaten to the punch by somebody else, perhaps me, or perhaps you, but somebody somewhere other than on their pages will have gotten the story.  Without the story, their business model is dead.  They must now compete not only to get the story, but to edit, upload and otherwise publish world-wide no differently from you.  At present, all their press credentials really provide them is easier access, and even that is changing as public figures realize that they needn’t play the old media’s conventional games.

Don’t seek the approval of the dinosaurs you’re displacing.  Don’t give them the web traffic.  Their record is one of misinformation, and you shouldn’t assist them even on the rare occasion that they’re right or simply honest.  Truth be told, while I challenge them from time to time also, they’re simply not as relevant as they once were, and you shouldn’t expect them to change.  At the heart of it all, they’re mostly leftist rags, and few really pay any thorough attention to them any longer.  One can find better information, news and opinion elsewhere. Waiting for their acknowledgment or approval serves them, but it scarcely serves us.  We won’t defeat them by becoming them, or even referencing them.  Instead, as the endless evolution of new media continues to gain mind-space with people everywhere,  it’s time for the old media to begin paying attention to us.

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