The mainstream media is not dead

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The next decade will be one of immense change. The future of humanity will be decided – do we go to space or stay put, do we survive the changes coming? Further, many establishments will die. The publishing industry, burdened and drowned by the long tail, will sink. Music and movies will take new shapes, shapes as revolutionary as the talkie was to the zoetrope.

Basically, stuff’s going to get weirder.

But stuff is already weird. Look at the so-called Mainstream Media. This cabal of lie-tellers are busy, if you believe the Internet, breaking the bonds of reason that the average person has with the world. Conspiracy theories abound. The MSM is at their heart. We are on a boat and the MSM has cut us adrift, aiming us for the rapids.

Bull.

The reason I’m burbling out this diatribe is three-fold. First, I believe in the free press and the mission of journalists to tell the truth. Journalists exist to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. This may not be completely accurate all the time but dammit if it’s not true most of the time. The average journalist has given up the opportunity for professional success to write about children escaping from Afghanistan to the UK. The journalist has given up a cosy summer house or a nice boat to report from the frontlines of poverty in West Virginia, California, and Calais. The journalist is a damn fool who writes for money and is not sly enough to grease the right palms to grab more.

Second, even in this murk, even in these dark years, the mainstream journalist deserves our respect and our appreciation. In a few years their jobs will be eaten by robots and Instagram stars but while we still have them let’s give the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume they’re not dead.

Finally impetus this was this piece in the Guardian in which a Carole Cadwalladr searched for “Mainstream is…” on Google and found that the closest match was “Mainstream Media is dead.” I hope that my drop in the SEO bucket will somehow help.

In the firmament of journalists many of us are blips on the horizon and don’t rate a place in even the most meager of constellations. But there are many up there now and many who have since passed who deserve a spot on Orion’s Belt or at the tongue of the snake. They have proven that a free, unfettered press is a luxury surpassing gold and fame. Their efforts at change have done more than any politicians. They have written truth despite the thousands of propagandists who plague them. They are big league.

So as we enter this mad season of anger and fear and outpourings of grief and rage and disbelief I encourage you to turn to the scribe in the corner, the one who hasn’t gone native, the one who tells stories and tells them straight. Turn to them and listen.

Because SEO and Twitter bots and Facebook will denude their truth, soon, other media will tear them down. We will lose national treasures. So follow them as long as you can. Follow the men and women who make you laugh and who can tell stories that make you cry. Avoid social media and look to real media – for the brief instant it survives. Sometimes there’s more light in a passing comet in a dead moon.

Maybe I’m whistling past the graveyard. Maybe we’re not going to make it. But if you appreciate the truth then your skills must be put to its dispersal. Your technology is empty if no one uses it. That’s why the world built the media: To tell the stories of the underdogs who win despite the bad odds. So, in a very self-serving way, I encourage you to support truth wherever you see it. It can be here, on this site. It can be at the New York Times or the Times Leader of Martins Ferry, Ohio. It can be far it can be near. It can be within your own ranks as you try your hand at methods to pay writers for their time and effort. But I ask you to make the security of a free press as important as the security of your water supply.

As we work to avert the death of this small planet we’re going to need some good, true news. Support it wherever you see it. And tell the robots and the arguers and the propagandists that they cannot win. After all, they never have.

Featured Image: Bettmann/Getty Images

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