That’s what Bill Moyers, in his speech to the National Conference of Media Reform, indicated that the media is becoming.
Already, newspapers and magazines (and soon TV programming) are encouraged to sell key words to advertisers – so-called “in-text advertising” – in the online versions of stories. Can you imagine advertisers going for stories with key words such as “health care reform,” “environmental degradation,” “Iraqi casualties,” “contracting fraud,” or “K Street lobbyists.” I don’t think so. So what will happen to news in the future as the already tattered boundaries between journalism and advertising is dispensed with entirely, as content, programming, commerce and online communities are rolled into one profitably attractive package? Last year the investment firm of Piper Jaffrey predicted that much of the business model for new media would be just that kind of hybrid. They called it “communitainment.”
Moyers also said great stuff like:
…this Administration – with the complicity of the dominant media – conducted a political propaganda campaign, using erroneous and misleading intelligence to deceive Americans into supporting an unprovoked attack on another country, leading to a war that instead of being “quick and bloodless” as predicted, continues to this day. (At least we now know that a neo-conservative is an arsonist who sets the house on fire and six years later boasts that no one can put it out.)
Democracy without honest information creates the illusion of popular consent while enhancing the power of the state and the privileged interests protected by it.
Democracy without accountability creates the illusion of popular control while offering ordinary Americans cheap tickets to the balcony, too far away to see that the public stage is just a reality TV set.
Nothing more characterizes corporate media today – mainstream and partisan – than disdain towards the fragile nature of modern life and indifference toward the complex social debate required of a free and self-governing people.
This leaves you with a heavy burden – it’s up to you to fight for the freedom that makes all other freedoms possible.
Be vigilant; the fate of the cyber commons is at stake here, the future of “the mobile web” and the benefits of the Internet as open architecture. We’ll lose without you: the only antidote to the power of organized money in Washington is the power of organized people at the netroots.
You can go to the FreePress site and read, listen to, or watch the whole amazing speech.
A couple of years ago, I agreed with Molly Ivins that Bill Moyers should be president. Maybe what he should be is Barack Obama’s Carl Rove.
It’s too bad that there isn’t a Corporation for Public Blogging (like the Corporation for Public Broadcasting). Maybe if there were, b!X would have been able to continue his city-based and well respected journalistic (but not economic) success, the Portland Communique.
Surely there must be some foundation or trillionaire somewhere who might want to give out grants to independent citizen blogger/journalists? I nominate b!X to be first on the list.