The Problem With Media

The problem with journalism is the ongoing economic instability, not blue checks with melding opinions. The two, though, can bleed into one another.

When the news industry becomes populated by highly-educated people who live in the affluent neighborhoods of two cities, the realities of America are shunted out. Groupthink dominates. The media world was always clubby, particularly in the big cities, and Robert Caro’s The Power Broker will remind you how shoddy midcentury reporters could be. But since that vanished world was bigger, dispersed among many towns and cities, the insularity could only matter so much.

A reporter in San Diego was not commenting on the filtered sunset photo of a reporter in Brooklyn. Rituals naturally formed and a consensus could be aggressively managed and manufactured—read Noam Chomsky for that—but there were limitations to such endeavors in a world where there really were many more working reporters throughout America. Thirty thousand jobs are gone just since 2008. In this new era, there is the poisonous brew of precarity and Twitter, where journalists meet daily to network, suck up, and joust with shared enemies. Twitter doesn’t matter like Facebook matters, but it can function, at times, like an assignment editor, with reporters and editors alike sifting through feeds for ideas. Twitter controversies become reported controversies. Meta-narratives evolve into hard narratives.

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