Lost in all the hand-wringing over the corporate (mainstream) media's decline is a key cause of the decline: the MSM no longer publishes or airs anything that challenges the Status Quo. The timidity of the corporate media knows no bounds. The iconic Washington Post now makes its corporate bread off its ownership of a diploma mill of the sort that it should deplore.
Choose the phrase your prefer to describe this: bought off, sold out, compromised.
In web-based corporate media, "journalism" has been distilled down to churning out lists: the 11 best cities to do your $50 million IPO in, the 9 most adorable dog breeds, 7 reasons why we hate corporate web-based media (you'll never see that list), etc.
The print media has always lived off advertising. What's changed is the overt slavishness of the media toward its advert masters.
If you flip through a corporate mainstream media publication from the late 1960s, for example LIFE magazine, you will see plenty of adverts. But you will also see uncompromising stories about alternative lifestyles, about demonstrators against the Status Quo being beaten, arrested and thrown in temporary gulags, and other stories which bluntly called the entire machinery of the Status Quo into question.
The deal was this: the media was relevant, so people wanted to read it. Advertisers who wanted to reach this audience had to suck it up and advertise regardless of whether they approved of the content.
A near-monopoly certainly aided the corporate media pre-cable TV and Internet: there were a handful of national print media outlets, two big newspapers per major city, a town newspaper in smaller burgs, and three national TV networks. Advertisers had little choice about where to place their advert dollars.
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