Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Crossroads for mainstream thinking

In a thoughtful and lengthy New York Times article entitled Bad News Richard A. Posner, judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School (and a small "l" libertarian) discusses the fragmentation of mainstream media. Newspaper subscriptions and market share of TV news programs is in continual decline. The culprit is, of course, the IT revolution and specifically the advent of extremely cheap methods of disseminating information, i.e., blogging.

While many bemoan this turn of events, Posner welcomes it. Just as FOX News keeps tabs on the reporting of CNN, and vice-versa, millions of bloggers keep tabs on the media, and on the important stories that are sometimes too hot to handle or might otherwise offend advertisers.

The result, of course, is a tendency toward polarization of news focus and style. If the Wall Street Journal is hogging conservative readers the New York Times has to drift to the left to keep its circulation up.

Sooner or later this same phenomenon will likely happen to the major political parties, and the minor parties, all of them, will come into their own. How it will happen, and when, is a topic for another day.


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