It Just Doesn't Matter! It Just Doesn't Matter!


Looking at this Center for the Study of Popular Culture complaint about the bias of NPR's "On the Media" program, a possibly career-restricting thought occurred to me—In a journalism culture where scarcity is being replaced by fantastic bounty, whining about or even calmly dissecting the political bias of supposedly authoritative news sources feels more and more, to me at least, like a cop-out.

Oh sure, the bastards are biased—especially On the Media! (In my one interaction with the show, they spent most of the time trying to get me to 'fess up that I and the project I was working on, were, indeed, politically conservative.) But the point is that NPR, PBS, CBS, CNN, even the hallowed New York Times … these organizations no longer run our lives, or even dictate the journalism agenda. The L.A. Times is losing readers hand over foot, and yet many of its critics are acting like Spring Street still has the power to elect governors, or ensure that certain stories never see the light of day. Far as I can reckon, there are no more barriers to publishing or broadcasting any story anymore, and though some days it may look like every major news outlet has the same agenda (some gal just ditched her wedding!), the reality is that there are several competing political and journalistic worldviews going head-to-head every day across every medium. If there's a story that needs covering, well, cover it! If you don't like the paper, well, start your own damned paper!

In fairness to David Horowitz (did I actually just say that?), he has created his own outlets where he can flog his hobby-horses until there's nothing left but the bones of Noam Chomsky. And of course, round-the-clock media dissection is a wonderful by-product of the New Era, bringing distributed intelligence to bear on what was once more of a priesthood, or at least a snobby guild. But just like the evil MSM has been slow to react to the realities of media bounty, so to some degree have its tormentors, by acting like the politics of a public radio media show even matter. NPR leans left! The Wall Street Journal leans right! Stand up, sit down, fight fight fight!