First, an update on what appears to be happening (or isn’t), with respect to the Sony hack, which has a major impact on any kind of broadly based news:
Netflix and YouTube appear to be backing the release of the film portraying the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jon Un, despite the hack (see here and here.) Some security experts doubt that North Korea was even involved, (despite US government claims). Indeed, some claim that the entire “threat” was merely a marketing scam—missing the point, perhaps, that it could just as easily have been real. Some blame a disgruntled employee.
Of course, it wouldn’t help if the United States government was on the wrong side of the fact base.
Here’s the film. You decide if you want to see it, if you have the happiness of living in a free country. I’ll just try to keep you posted on various developments.
What I had really wanted to talk about this time out was dying media, which should have some value to readers who are deciding whether to renew subscriptions in the new year.
Many of our elders still really believe in the legacy media. Those media’s readers, listeners, and viewers are disproportionately older people these days. And older people express opinions and vote. Meanwhile, the media they depend on, while losing ad revenue, are also losing the ability to provide serious news coverage.
That, by the way, is the reason for so many of the asinine scandals we see today. For example, the faked up student stock whiz or questionable campus rape—claims that would have attracted more internal skepticism at one time. That is because decades ago, with ad revenues high, there were far more people on the job at major media checking this kind of stuff out. Questions would be asked that would typically kill a one-source story whose source refused to forward other serious sources for verification.
No, that was NOT a golden age decades ago! But city desk editors were famed for their unwillingness to believe anyone, even God, without credentials. And it served them well. Today, the New York Times, hit by big layoffs, publishes massive corrections with little apparent sense of embarrassment.
Netflix even predicts that broadcast TV will be dead by 2030. Some legacy media are making sensible decisions for their future. MSNBC says it will debut increasingly left-wing shows and CNN may offer more game shows. In other words, they are seeking niches for survival.
In general, however, today, people who still listen to legacy media for news are a captive audience. What will that mean?
Well, just for example, the controversy about Pope Francis supposedly claiming that animals go to heaven was essentially faked up by legacy media. Who knows, some animals may go to heaven, but it is not a part of Catholic teaching as such. And Pope Francis never said anything to the contrary of Church teaching on the matter. It wouldn’t have hurt to find that out before publicizing it.
Yet this is what elders who still rely on legacy media must deal with every day.
See also: The Internet: More informed is NOT necessarily better informed More information is not necessarily an asset if there is no practical way to assess its worth.
Are traditional media dying? Who will they take down with them?
Note: Re dogs and heaven: The Christian tradition provides no canonical answer, but does offer hope. But we can’t and don’t know at present. This is just for Christmas fun:
Denyse O’Leary is a Canadian journalist, author, and blogger.