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Posts Tagged ‘Mainstream Media’

16th May 2011

In what could only be described as a “tip of the hat” from one news service to another the New York Times, that often venerated institution of American news, was recently noted for lauding the efforts of that bastion of alternative media The Drudge Report. To quote directly from a truly insightful article posted on the official website of the New York Times, NYTimes.com:

The Drudge Report, a 14-year-old site — a relic by Web standards — conceived and operated by Matt Drudge. Using data from the Nielsen Company to examine the top 21 news sites on the Web, the report suggests that Mr. Drudge, once thought of as a hothouse flower of the Lewinsky scandal, is now more powerful in driving news than the half-billion folks on Facebook. (According to the study, Facebook accounted for 3.3 percent of the referrals to news sites, less than half as many as generated by The Drudge Report.)

Readers of this blog are strongly encouraged to click on the hyperlinks above to read this interesting and insightful article as written by David Carr.

It was interesting that within this article there was mention of an aspect of Mr. Drudge’s approach that has often been overlooked by so-called “mainstream” news organizations (it is interesting that Mr. Drudge’s site is considered “alternative” while the appellation “mainstream” is often given to websites with a great deal less actual readership, to define this irony through historical analysis, this is akin to the old “Bolshevik” and “Menshevik” designations within the Communist Party as it manifested itself in Russia immediately following her early 20th century revolution [not to say that said organization was either good or bad, but this analogy is brought up simply to note that often when gazing through the prism of politics there are times when labels can be less than genuine]).  To quote further:

Yes, Mr. Drudge is a conservative ideologue whose site also serves as a crib sheet for the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. But if you believe that his huge traffic numbers are a byproduct of an ideologically motivated readership, consider that 15 percent of the traffic at WashingtonPost.com, which is not exactly a hotbed of Tea Party foment, comes from The Drudge Report.

This blogger personally enjoys Mr. Drudge’s website, but, as when reading any information source, one must always be aware of the deliverer’s possible political biases. That stated, one of the reasons this blogger enjoys Mr. Drudge’s site is due to the fact that it appears as if Mr. Drudge truly tries to simply act as something of an unfiltered medium by simply linking to news through his site via headline or byline hyperlinks. However, there is more to his site than just basic coding. In short, Mr. Drudge’s website is a prime example of both the power of the alternative media and the “ghost in the machine” that is the human mind when it harnesses the power of the World Wide Web. Mr. Drudge’s site could be considered both a reflection of him in many ways and an example of the living art work that can be erected by an informed citizenry and an informed humanity. Truly, The Drudge Report is a beacon of light, a symbol of hope, and a prayer to reason because it symbolizes what one person can do when using ingenuity and entrepreneurialism when interacting with the public. The author William Duggan once noticed an ability he referred to as “Napoleon’s Glance” and it could be argued that Mr. Drudge possesses just such an ability when it comes to news. One may not agree with another’s politics, but sometimes the factual situation demands a transcendence of politics and therefore good “news men” are always in demand within a free society.

There was one final point within this article that was notable to this blogger:

And in the last 14 years, there have been no big redesigns, no big rollout of new features and no staffing up to provide original content. The initial site, designed to load quickly in the age of dial-up modems, remains relatively untouched. (As does Mr. Drudge’s penchant to stay under the radar. He did not respond to e-mails requesting an interview.)

A wiser man than this blogger once said: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Truly Mr. Drudge, from a solitary blogger to a solitary news man, thank you sir, and keep up the good work! We”ll keep checking, you keep posting.

For related information please see: alternative media.

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17th February 2011

As an American Resident Abroad, this blogger finds a certain sense of comfort in watching the lead up to the 2012 Presidential Election. For those who have been reading this blog with any kind of regularity it may have been noticed that the posting have become more centered upon issues arising in an American political context. To be clear, this blogger truly feels that the events transpiring in the United States can have a significant impact upon Asia as a whole and Southeast Asia in particular. This blogger has personally witnessed the way in which United States policy can impact the Kingdom of Thailand, for good and for ill. Clearly, what happens in Washington D.C. and on the campaign trail leading up to the 2012 election can have a tremendous effect upon the economies and polities that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Bearing that in mind, the reader should note that the administration of this blog is tracking the lead up to the 2012 election out of mere curiousity and will try to remain unbiased regarding the candidates themselves.

In politics, as in many other areas of life, “perception is reality”. This colloquialism is often interpreted to mean that a candidate’s portrayal in the media has a direct impact upon his or her chances of attaining national office. In many respects, this has been true in the past. The Michael Dukakis tank/helmet incident is a prime example of the way in which a public figure’s image can be portrayed in the media in such a way that it damages that candidate’s chances at the polls.

It would appear that the “Mainstream Media” outlet Fox News has been taking criticism for their portrayal of the recent victory of Representative Ron Paul at the CPAC straw poll. To quote directly from AAyles on the website twirlit.com:

A new video released today via YouTube shows footage from 2010 where Ron Paul was booed after winning the CPAC. So what’s the big deal, right? Well, the footage from 2010 was presented in a manner that made it seem as though it was from 2011.

Firstly, this blogger greatly encourages readers to click on the links above to watch the full video as it would appear that Fox News did indeed use footage from the previous CPAC straw poll which did show a less enthusiastic reception to the Ron Paul victory (to be clear, Ron Paul won both the CPAC straw poll in 2010 and the straw poll in 2011, but by a much wider margin in 2011). To quote further from AAyles on twirlit.com:

The video pretty much explains everything very clearly but the message we want to get across is that, despite what Fox News reported, Ron Paul was not booed when he was announced as the 2011 CPAC winner. Not at all, actually. As you can see in the video, there was nothing but loud cheers when Ron was announced as the 2011 winner.

It is interesting to note this apparent manipulation of the reporting of the Ron Paul CPAC victory as it shows how influential the “Mainstream Media” can be in the realm of political perception, but the incident also shows something else: the “Mainstream Media” may be in danger of losing their hold over key sectors of their audience. This is not to say that Fox News will discontinue their operation anytime soon. On the contrary, it would appear as though National News organizations will continue to thrive, but machinations once used to influence the audience are being exposed so quickly through the “Alternative Media” (namely, websites, blogs, the blogosphere, social media, youtube, etc) that there is a sort of grassroots “blowback” (to borrow a phrase from the intelligence community) that occurs following incidents such as the one described above. It stands to reason that anytime a media outlet is discredited it will have an adverse impact upon the way in which said outlet is viewed by the public-at-large in the future. The issue for mainstream media is one of survival, in order to maintain relevance in an increasingly “Alternative Media” saturated society “Mainstream Media” outlets must guard against being portrayed as “taking a side” in an issue lest their viewers choose to seek their news and information via other channels. The fact that Fox News was so quickly vilified for their portrayal of the CPAC straw poll outcome goes to show how tremendously effective the “alternative media” can be when it comes to disseminating information, especially information about “Mainstream Media” mistakes or misinformation.

In many ways, the upcoming Presidential Election will be interesting, not because of the outcome; but because it will showcase what appears to be a “Mainstream Media” heading into decline.

For related information please see: Patriot Act Extension.

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