Print media fades away as broadcast through TV and Internet are taking over

Mitch Leclair

Mitch Leclair

The New York Times is crumbling faster than Alex Rodriguez’s reputation, and the powers that be cannot figure it out. More and more consumers are dumping print media and getting involved with the edgy kid on the block: the Internet.

Jay Rosen, professor of journalism at New York University, along with constitutional lawyer-turned-journalist Glenn Greenwald, discussed this transformation of our national media on “Bill Moyers Journal” on Feb. 6.

The talk, available on, centered around what Greenwald referred to as, “The monopoly that [traditional journalists] previously exerted on our political discourse.”

Various theories exist for explaining how, why and how much the press influences public policy, and vice-versa, but the basic model for reporting in Washington has been constant: A says B, C reports B to D. End of story. (I know I’m over-simplifying things, Dr. Paulson – hang with me.)

As Rosen said, “During the age of mass media, the idea of one-way, one to many communication sunk very deeply into the political elites’ sense of self. Broadcast the message. ? The great thing about the Internet is that it runs two ways.”

Gone are the fireside proclamations, the empty declarations transmitted into our living rooms. The power is dripping out of the establishment’s hands, draining through broadband cables and coming to puddle under our fingertips instead.

With Creative Commons licenses replacing traditional copyright laws, Wikipedia providing the wealth of human knowledge in a few seconds and torrent technology connecting file-sharers around the world, the mouths behind the megaphones should be worried.

But should they be scared? After all, our new president has a YouTube page, yet the general public has demanded basically nothing concerning the recent American drone attacks in Pakistan that killed over 20 civilians. Or the Obama campaign-promise-breaking DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in California. Or that whole unconstitutional war in Iraq thing. recently discovered the enduring strength of Washington’s castle walls when they unsuccessfully tried to uncover exactly where the first $350 billion in TARP funds has gone. The fifth of November hasn’t quite arrived.

Personally, I am optimistic that something has fundamentally shifted in the way we perceive our government’s words. At the same time, I hope “hope” hasn’t replaced our generation’s thirst for the truth, and I can only wish that we use available tools to hold our elected officials accountable. In January alone, 600,000 Americans lost their jobs, and we’re all looking for answers.

The peddle-to-me model of journalism has gone bankrupt, and consumers can no longer afford to buy the message.

Mitch also maintains a blog at