Friday, September 01, 2006

How Stupor Killed the Fourth Estate

Good Morning. A couple of new items today.
  • "Who Killed the Newspaper," the most recent cover story by The Economist, got what's left of us in the newspaper industry all riled up for a few moments, while the mass of the unreading public didn't even shrug: it was too busy watching "reality" TV. But the problem isn't with newspapers' content, or even with the medium. The problem is quality journalism--not its absence, but public indifference, if not disdain, for it. The medium isn’t the problem. It’s the message. And the message is: Most people disdain any medium that presumes to make them think. Mass-market anti-intellectualism has always been a norm in American society. Mass-market anti-reflection is now the new normal. News as critical reflection, news as change agent, as the fourth-estate, is not just irrelevant. It's dead. See Pierre's "How Stupor Killed the Fourth Estate..."
  • Not to get you down so much before the weekend, but there's also more evidence that the United States is slouching toward second-rate economy status, if it isn't entirely there so far as its social structure is concerned. See "Dawn of a Second-Rate Economy..."
  • Candide's Latest, as always, remains a busy place, including choice bits on Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka and Naguib Mahfouz, as well as a few clouds of demagoguery from Lebanon and a couple of blog round-ups. Keep your ears open: Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson will make an appearance or two soon.
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