Sunday, July 19, 2009
What Has Happened To "The Press?"
It's quite an ubiquitous question, plaintively cried far and wee across the blogosphere, echoing louder now with the passing of the last of the giants of that earlier age: What Happened To The Press?
It's pretty simple, really. It's not competition. Nobody now does what "The Press" formerly did better than it did it, which is to report the news (as distinct from the manufactured "pseudo-events" of press releases, canned, speeches, and artful stenography).
What killed "the Press" (and make no mistake: "the Press" of the First Amendment is moribund, is brain-dead, comatose, on feeding tubes and ventillators) is "Corporatism."
Yup. Just that. Corporatism, plain and simply.
The "problem" with the SCUM** is that they are merely animatronic avatars, quickly and easily replaceable salary-servants in corporations the main business of which is not anything even remotely related to the functions of the Press as they were imagined when "the Press" was accorded the protection of the Constitution.
Corporatism is fundamentally at odds with the best principles of "the Press," the "fourth Estate." Corporations, since the very act of their original conception, have sought to gain control of the State. The wars of the 20th Century were fought to determine which form of Fascism would prevail. Corporations desire closed, authoritarian deliberations based on principles of possession and ownership of valuable resources. "The Press" has it's whole constitutionally protected purpose the exposure of the private details of public business, which is the one thing that CorpoRats detest most: Public oversight.
The corpoRats killed off the Press when they bought it out, lock, stock, and barrel, in the '80s and '90s. The corpoRats closed bureaus, fired staff, eliminated any semblance of any remaining "firewall" between the ad department and the city room (much as the wall of separation between church and state was eroded by similar forces). Bigger papers dropped bureaus; they all reduced the size of papers, both in physical dimensions and in the size of the news hole relative to ads. They were transformed by their new owners from the beacons of the peoples' interest into fucking suburban shoppers, with movie schedules, horoscopes, and celebrity gossip. People could get all that on-line, or off tv, and NOT have the distraction of having to actually READ anything.
That's what's happened to "the Press." It's gone and like so much else that is now gone, under the provisions of a spuriously inflamed anti-terrorism regime, like so much else we valued as our Constitutional birthrights, never to return.
Once lost, once forsaken, liberty is gone.
Never to return.
**SCUM = SoCalledUnbiasedMedia