Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Matt Haughey says the use of the term "mainstream media" reveals the user to be a crank, and he will not read the work of any such blogger. Juan Cole says that's dumb, he doesn't really care if Haughey reads his blog or not, and asserts that bloggers exist within "a different political economy than [do] mainstream media."

Haughey responds that Cole should relax.

Both have a point, though I think Cole's argument, while perhaps inappropriately pugnacious, is more correct. Haughey's right that the distinctions between more democratic media, such as blogs, and what many refer to as the mainstream media, such as the New York Times and CNN, are slowly breaking down, but Cole is right that, at least for the moment, those distinctions do exist, and are in many cases quite stark.

As for the use of the term "Mainstream Media," or MSM, it's one of those terms that means something completely different depending on the political orientation of the user. Right-wingers use it to mean "the liberal-biased, elite Europhile, latte-drinking types who look down on real Amurcans," while lefties generally use it to mean the dominant corporate news-media which are driven by profit imperatives rather than by responsibility to the public, and thus seek out and feature conflict with too little concern for examining the veracity of the combatants. As a liberal I subscribe to the latter interpretation, and obviously think the former is a load of crap, but I don't really have any problem with the term in and of itself.

No comments: