I’m old enough to remember a time when the average home had three TV channels and a few radio stations. Some people had more than one newspaper, but in many towns it was one paper with maybe multiple editions through the day. ... [My father] was a working man so he read the evening paper. Salary men read the morning paper.
The point here is that it was not that long ago when mass media was a narrow pipe allowing for few voices. In order to get on TV, you had a long apprenticeship. That meant most of lunatics were weeded out before they got in front of a camera. Newspaper columnists spent years covering local stories, writing obituaries and following cops around town reporting on crime stories. Getting a column was a big deal and reserved for middle-aged men who could be trusted to keep it between the ditches, even if they drank at breakfast.
The communications revolution has made the pipe infinity larger. So much so that anyone with a little initiative can reach a broad audience. The trouble is the number of responsible, sensible people is fixed. That means the pipe is now full of nuts and morons hooting and bellowing at us, drowning out the few intelligent voices. The megaphone is now in the hands of the dumbest members of society.Z-man goes on to rightfully complain about the Huffington Post (which I do not and will not link) and its highly-biased coverage of a juiced-up Alabama police officer who slammed an old Indian (dot not feather) man on the ground. Yeah, it sucks, but the police officer was fired and arrested for assault, as he should have been.
Z-man considers the nutty HuffPoster's screed and concludes:
...He’s [(the Huffposter]) probably harmless, but giving him a platform to broadcast his brand of crazy is irresponsible. When you’re trying to fill that huge pipe with content, however, you quickly run out of sane people and have no choice but to dip into the lunatic bucket.
There’s no mechanism in modern societies to deal with this phenomenon. Maybe people just ignore it all, but I doubt it. The downward drift of public discourse in the last three decades suggests the coarsening is proportional to the size of the pipe. The above story was on the front page of Yahoo today, which is why I noticed it. Some number of sensible people will read that nonsense and think it is legitimate."Giving him a platform?" What is this, Soviet Russia?
I know! I know! We should go back to the "good old days" when Cronkite told us "that's the way it is", and we had three channels on TV and two newspapers a day, and the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency! Then, we'd have some powerful gatekeepers to keep these "nut jobs" from being able to speak their minds! And, we could get some good legislation in, like the Gun Control Act of 1968! /sarc
No, thanks. I like our way better: HuffPo gets to have their nutjobs, and I get to write what I want on my little blog for my readership, and so do you, Z-man.
Freedom is a good thing, even if the stupids at HuffPo use it for evil.
And Z-man, I would have posted these comments at your site, but it kept telling me I was a spammer. I am not.