Jonah Goldberg spotted a plea by Dan Rather for President Obama to repair and save the American media.
Wow. Rather believes such a move is nothing short of saving American democracy! Quote:
A truly free and independent press is the red beating heart of democracy and freedom….This is not something just for journalists to be concerned about, and the loss of jobs and the loss of newspapers, and the diminution of the American press’ traditional role of being the watchdog on power. This is something every citizen should be concerned about.
President Obama does not need to save the media: they have had and ignored the power to do so all along.
Is Rather’s concern a recent one? If not, why not bring this up sooner? Is it because we have a liberal president drunk on spending other people’s money?
Ironically, he should have asked George W. Bush for assistance, given that Rather is the guy who broke (and by broke, we mean “rendered inoperable”) the Bush memo that turned out to be a spectacular forgery that very likely contributed to Rather’s marginalization in the main stream media. And the general public realization how bad the media is at its job.
But neither President needs to be involved. Here are four ways to save the media from themselves.
1. Eliminate Pulitzer prizes, journalism awards, ratings sweeps, and all the schlock that encourages journalists to swing for the fences. Journalism has become a cheap whore, turning whatever trick it can to make the quickest buck. The very worst investigative journalism occurs during the ratings drives. Stop trying to out-do the competition and stick to what is, not what could be.
2. Clean up your act. Learn from your mistakes. Click here to find a list of ways the media screws up time and again. Hint: mistakes erode consumer confidence. It’s that simple, guys.
3. Run the business like a business. Tired of losing money? Easy! Get rid of your swollen unions. Find out what the consumers want. Provide it. Ditch the stuff that doesn’t work (this varies between print, radio, and television) and capitalize on what does work. The Czar is weary of news organizations claiming that they are teetering close to bankruptcy and woe is the industry. There are a number of media outlets making real money. Find out what they are doing and emulate it. Value is never out of money.
4. Deliver! In the 1990s, the media were looking for a method to deliver information rapidly and diversely in a variety of formats not limited by time or distance. It so happens that the internet is a method of delivering information rapidly and diversely in a variety of formats not limited by time or distance. If anything, the internet was the God-sent savior of the media; instead, the media found a way to bankrupt itself with it. Face it: only the media could have screwed this up. It’s as if a rally racer runs out of gas in a desert. Twenty feet away, he finds a ten-gallon can of high octane gas…and somehow uses it to set fire to himself and the car. The Czar thinks it’s because the vast horde of information that is the Internet made it fast and easy for the average person to discover what a bunch of intellectual lightweights the media are.
So Mr. Rather…don’t grovel to the President to save your necks. You and those like you put those necks in the noose. By not admitting the media’s culpability in their own failures, you blame Americans for it. And we’re not the cause: we’re the victims.