Steven Berlin Johnson, the clever fellow who suggested that TV and video games often make kids smarter and we should stop fretting so much over screen time, is now defending the indefensible – mainstream journalism.
Here Steven suggests that all sane people would agree that Mainstream, top-down, professional journalism will continue to play a vital role in covering news events, and in shaping our interpretation of those events, as it should. [emphasis added ].
Well, it should NOT play that role because mainstream journalism’s commercial focus, though natural, is NOT healthy. In fact it’s tragic because the interpretations are so misguided and narrow. Blogs can help fix this, and they will.
I think, therefore I’m insane?
Your first point – that professional journalism “should” play something like the powerful role it currently plays is as misguided as a Fox News analysis and simply absurd. Mainstream journalism stinks, and is getting worse. Blogs will help fix this deficiency, and hopefully will replace mainstream superficiality with in depth, smart coverage of complex events.
Although blogs are only beginning to challenge the absurd commercial sensibilities of mainstream journalism I have much higher hopes than you that blogger journalists will prevail over mainstream celebrity journalism which reaches new lows every year. (cf many great mainstream journalists who are impressive but stifled by forced brevity).
Mainstream journalism has fallen very far from reasoned analysis of current events. It no longer pays more than superficial attention to critical news events (e.g. “Oral rehydration therapy saves millions”, “Congo War”, “Global Child Welfare”, etc, etc.