As a reader of my blog, you may have read I am not very impressed by many members of The Press or the self-aggrandizing institutional walled-gardens held firmly by The Press.
I became a journalist so I didn’t have to rely on the press for information.Christopher Hitchens
Not because the institutions and members of The Press, in theory, are not important, but because The Press, to follow the said theory, must be held accountable as the voice of impartial or at least causal integrity to earn the right to be deemed instrumental to society.
Here is my brief rundown of how I evaluate members of The Press, regardless of what institution they work for:
- One who describes what happened (press-release regurgitator)
- One who invites talking heads to debate what happened (maximize airtime to advertise)
- One who merely describes the impending delta of consequences of what happened (rebel without a cause)
- One who understands the cause of what happened (the real expert)
The above list may help you figure out who to spend time with. Type 1, 2, and 3 compose the vast majority of The Press today and are a complete waste of time to either feed information or derive valuable viewpoints.
I have respect for the difficulty The Press faces in trying to compete with the voluminous drivel of social media, moving eye-balls and money away from traditional news outlets. But social media is also, thankfully, giving lazy members of The Press belonging to category 1, 2, and 3 a serious run for their money. Not in the least because social media plays the same game as members of The Press belonging to 1,2, and 3. Lazy competing with lazy, have at it.
The only members of The Press (and social media) who should and do survive are members who have taken the time and effort to investigate the cause leading to the consequence they are reporting on. A beautiful period of Press cleansing is occurring today, in which the freedom to publish anything monetizable is reshuffling the deck, and its members are finally held up to new and higher standards of a (dynamic) meritocracy. The merit of evolutionary integrity, that is.
Evidence from within
Even with The Press categorized as 4, watch this (if pressed for time, scrub to listen to (the late) Christopher Hitchens, first at 22:55):
The humorous exchange in the video demonstrates Christopher’s solid reasoning not to blindly entrust The Press with the keys to the kingdom of public discourse, as argued by their own.
Change a coming
Akin to the music business, where purchasing moved from complete albums to the merit of individual songs, the purchasing of news moves from the presumptive merit of press institutions to the merit of its individual members.
While painful for those interested in preserving the unquestionable press institutions, an increased granularity and a wider standard-deviation of merit is pertinent to a society embracing the finest plurality of freedom, to each his own.